Tax hikes are way out of pro­por­tion

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - News The Glen­garry

Open Let­ter to SD&G Cit­i­zens: I’d like to shift gears a bit and in­vite my friends and neigh­bours of North Glen­garry, as well as those in Stor­mont and Dun­das coun­ties, to ob­serve the prop­erty tax­a­tion trends that ap­ply to all of us at “the county level.”

Every­one out in the coun­try, who gets a prop­erty tax bill, knows that the tax pie has three slices. In 2004, my slices were $3,823/$5,125/$2,058 for Town­ship, Coun­ties, and Schools, re­spec­tively (res­i­den­tial + farm­land). Last year, they were $9,220/$10,855/$3,121 for the same three tax-roll farm prop­er­ties (res­i­den­tial + farm­land). So, since we’ve al­ready had a look at the ex­po­nen­tial growth of South Glen­garry tax­a­tion, let us now re­view the “up­per tier” tax­a­tion in the fol­low­ing chart.

Since there are nearly 60 classes of prop­erty in the SDG dataset, I charted the four big­gies sep­a­rately (res­i­den­tial, com­mer­cial, pipeline, farm­land), and lumped the rest into “other.” My theme con­tin­ues: mill rates have not been ad­justed to com­pen­sate for rapid hikes in as­sess­ment val­ues, par­tic­u­larly for the res­i­den­tial and farm­land classes.

I know and re­gret, that my won­der­ful high school teacher, Mrs. Ch­eryl Clin­gon, de­spaired at my per­for­mance in her math classes at GDHS, but even a dullard like me can see that this growth in tax­a­tion (and con­se­quen­tial spend­ing) is way out of pro­por­tion to gen­eral rates of inflation or pri­vate sec­tor growth.

My par­ents, God bless them, drove me to my mi­nor hockey games all over SD&G back in the 1970s and ‘80s, when mu­nic­i­pal tax­a­tion was a small frac­tion of what it is now. The same town­ship and county roads were an­nu­ally paved and grav­elled and graded as now.

Why has tax­a­tion changed so dra­mat­i­cally? Some politi­cians point fin­gers at the Prov­ince for “down­load­ing” or skimp­ing on cost-share for­mu­las rel­a­tive to the “old days,” and that might be a wee part of the story; but I sus­pect it’s mostly de­flec­tion and ob­fus­ca­tion. I’d rather rely upon ob­jec­tive data anal­y­sis.

My next task is to dis­till as much expense data as I can ob­tain for this time pe­riod, so it might be a while be­fore my next re­port. My sin­cere thanks go out to Tim Simp­son and the staff of SD&G Coun­ties for pro­vid­ing this tax­a­tion data, and to and its read­ers for their con­tin­ued in­ter­est in this re­search. Shawn McRae, McRae Farms Ltd., Bainsville

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