Regina Chamber of Commerce warns against any changes to city tax policy

He said more information is needed in order to understand the implications of what impact maintaining the status quo has had on both parties over the past 14 years.“As someone that fits into that low-income, fixed-income bracket I think the one thing that I do is I proportionately pay a lot more of my income on city taxes,” said Elliot.He said a reduction in annual residential property taxes would put him in a better position to spend more money in the community and support local businesses.But he said council also needs to look more closely at what the impact of reducing residential property taxes would have.Administration’s report compares Regina’s tax share ratio with four other major Canadian cities.In Calgary, the tax share between residential and commercial properties is 46 per cent and 54 per cent respectively.In Edmonton, it’s 52 per cent residential and 48 per cent non-residential, while both Winnipeg and Saskatoon’s split is 70 per cent residential and 30 per cent non-residential.The report urges formal stakeholder engagement with the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Regina (EDR) and other major stakeholders if any changes to the current tax policy are made.Due to the absence of executive committee member Coun. Andrew Stevens the report was tabled until next month’s meeting for further Difficult choices ahead as city reveals preliminary 2020 budget review Money talks: City of Regina expects to be under budget for the 2019 fiscal year Currently, the tax share between residential and commercial properties is 65 per cent and 35 per cent respectively.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.While those numbers have remained relatively stable between 2005 and 2018, the dollar amount of taxes levied over the same time frame has increased and the residential share of taxes has increased slightly compared to the non-residential share.“Any change in the relative tax share between residential and nonresidential properties results in a small change to the annual taxes of a residential property, but a significant change to the annual taxes of a commercial property,” warns administration’s report.For example, a one per cent change only reduces annual taxes for a residential property valued at $500,000 by $46, but increases the annual taxes of a motel valued a $2,309,100 by $599.A five per cent change would reduce annual taxes for the same residential property by $232, but increase it for the motel by $2,994.“Part of it is the message,” said Hopkins of a possible tax share change. “What message are we sending out? (Right now) we have a message that’s positive, that we’re looking for investment.”“What we’re doing is working,” he added.Regina resident Jim Elliot called on council to ask for a more detailed report with more in-depth data before making any decisions. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it was Regina & District Chamber of Commerce CEO John Hopkins’ message to executive committee during a meeting about potential changes to the city’s tax policy Wednesday.“We have a very competitive property tax both on the residential side as well as the non-residential side,” said Hopkins. “It’s doing good things in our community. So, if it’s not broke what are we trying to fix?”Hopkins supported a report from administration that recommended keeping the city’s current tax sharing ratio at the status quo, a report prompted by a motion brought forward by Ward 3 Coun. Andrew Stevens last year.The motion, which was approved by council in December 2018, asked administration to identify the impacts of revising existing tax policies related to non-residential properties “in the interest of offering relief for residential rate payers.”Related Jim Elliott. BRANDON HARDER / Regina Leader-Post

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