April 27, 2022
The budget tabled by Finance Minister Allan McMaster includes a new property tax of $2 per $100 of assessed value. To give a sense of what this means to non residents, I’ll explain the effect the new tax will have on one of three lots my wife and I own in Dunvegan.
The lot is assessed at $159,700 and the tax at $1,619. According to the new rules the tax on the lot will jump to $4813, an increase of 216 per cent.
I assume many of you would feel the same I did when I did the math; a 216 per cent bump on property taxes, especially coming out of the blue, is a shock.
It’s going to be more than just a shock for many. We know a lot of people living on limited incomes who have been coming to Cape Breton for decades.
What can they do?
Virtually nothing. Why? Because a non-resident can’t vote.
The government has found a way to grab money without anyone complaining, without damaging its re-election prospects, and in fact probably in such a way as to enhance its election prospects. In effect, the government spotted a free lunch in the form of a sitting duck. Is it any wonder the government fired?
It’s non residents’ democratic impotence, more than the size of the increase, that makes the new legislation unfair. And it’s certainly not in the spirit of the Nova Scotia my wife and I fell in love with when we started coming here 20 years ago.