Nova Scotia

HRM property owners face tax hike next year

If you own a home or a business in the Halifax Regional Municipality, you may have to pay more in property taxes next year.

If you own a home or a business in the Halifax Regional Municipality, you may have to pay more in property taxes next year.

Regional councillors who sit on the finance committee got a look at proposed tax plans Wednesday. Next year's budget, they heard, could include a residential rate increase of 2.5 per cent and a business rate hike of six per cent.

Councillors are looking for ways to cushion the blow for businesses by implementing a new tax system.

Coun. Tim Outhit likes the idea of a three-year average or a hybrid system that looks at more than just the assessed value, such as the size of a building and an owner's ability to pay.

"A $5,000 increase to a big-box multinational couldn't kill them. A small business on the Bedford Highway or Agricola Street, a $5,000 increase where their income hasn't gone up $1 could kill them or certainly have serious implications on their growth," he said.

Outhit said he'd like to see no increase at all, but that would mean deep cuts.

Municipal officials say they're aware of the complaints. They say overall, business taxes are fair, though they admit the system needs to be updated.

Council has yet to debate the proposed budget and vote on it.

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