Nova Scotia

Proposed non-resident taxes concern N.S. municipalities

The Houston government plans to levy a non-resident property tax and a non-resident deed transfer tax as a way to deal with the lack of affordable housing in the province.

Province considering tax to deal with lack of affordable housing in Nova Scotia

The Municipality of the District of Guysborough is one of many Nova Scotia communities that has concerns about the new non-resident property taxes.

Municipalities across Nova Scotia have a long list of concerns about the province's proposed new taxes for non-residents.

The Houston government plans to levy a non-resident property tax and a non-resident deed transfer tax as a way to deal with the lack of affordable housing in the province.

The Municipality of the District of Guysborough has written a letter opposing the move to Premier Tim Houston. In it the warden, Vernon Pitts, said "levying taxes on those who invest in our communities … will not solve the affordable housing problem in rural communities like Guysborough."

The letter also complains about the province using property taxes and deed transfer taxes to raise funds, since they are traditionally how municipalities raise revenues. Guysborough asks the premier to rescind the legislation and hold consultations on affordable housing in all areas of the province.

The Yarmouth county council also discussed the proposed new taxes at a meeting on April 14.

"I think there are too many unknowns here," said Coun. Patti Durkee. "If they're going to turn around and use it for housing, that would be a benefit, but there's a whole group of people who've been coming here for years who are going to be impacted."

The warden for Yarmouth County, John Cunningham, also pointed out that municipalities have not been consulted.

Yarmouth county council asked its CAO to draft a letter to the Houston government with a list of questions and concerns.

On Thursday, councillors with the Municipality of Chester also voted to send the province a letter after a number of residents made presentations about the negative impacts on the non-resident taxes, including realtor Piers Baker.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca

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