Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Deep thoughts on property taxes

Coyne has an excellent column today on property taxes. The time has come for property tax reform. Or has it?

Real reform of municipal finance would start by charging user fees wherever it was feasible to do so. A beneficial side effect of this would be to open up possibilities for privatization and contracting out: if it is possible to make users pay for a given service, it is ipso facto not a “public good.”

Some services, of course, like fire and police protection, cannot be financed in this way. At any other level of government, these would be paid for out of income or (better yet) sales taxes -- taxes that, whatever their faults, are manifestly simpler, fairer and more efficient than the property tax. So why shouldn’t cities do likewise?

A combination of user fees and a municipal sales tax -- or a dedicated share of the provincial sales tax -- in exchange for an end to the property tax, and with it decades of confusion, unfairness and acrimony: If the Liberals aren’t willing to run on this, perhaps the opposition might.


Chad Moats said...

Didn't you refer to this as magic beans, once or twice ?

David MacLean said...

What conversation was that?

Chad Moats said...

Well, I'll have dig into archived comments on both blogs ,but I'm sure to find it.
I agree, property taxes are ineffective and a drag on the economy. I agree that municipalities should be given transfers of tax points or the ability to levy small consumption taxes.
What took you so long to come around ?

Chad Moats said...

Chad, you say outright that you don't support a property tax increase. But you do say that, instead of raising taxes, they should just go out and get a PST point transfer from the province. I have a bag of beans I can sell you, too
-David MacLean, http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=12771288&postID=114599260747050718

David MacLean said...

I just couldn't recall what the context was.

The catch here is that in theory providing tax powers to muncipalities and replacing property taxes is a nice idea.

Problem is, all fo the politicians currently arguing for this want to INCREASE taxes, not cut them on a net basis.

And the provinces have no interest in transferring tax points.

It's just not possible.

Chad Moats said...

Well, I would like to make it an election issue. I have said how I would use such powers or transfers.
Why don't you call on others to do so ?
As well as donation disclosures.
I have stated that for every dollar in new diverse tax revenue collected/ tax point transfers, I would reduce property taxes by an equal amount.

Scott Hennig said...


Just a suggestion in regards to campaign donation disclosure: Pre-election campaign donation disclosure.

That way voters have much better information about who is pulling the strings before they vote.

Just a suggestion.

Chad Moats said...

No problem with that but you best lobby city hall as they turned down the oppurtunity to have any disclosure.

shapper said...

Property tax is under provincial jurisdiction/legislation. Please help to get them to change the legislation by signing the petition at:


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