Let’s look this gift horse in the mouth
It was like being handed a present that didn’t quite measure up. Someone read your wish list, but they got the model number wrong.
So it was with the Ontario government’s announcement yesterday of a revised property tax system that would see assessments carried out every four years, rather than every year, and any increase in an assessment spread out over those four years.
For cottagers who have been concerned about skyrocketing assessments and related high property taxes, there is little comfort. You’ll have some relief in the size of individual payments within a four-year assessment cycle, but no relief from the volatility of the market. Assessments (and taxes) will be as high as ever, they’ll just come in bigger jumps every four years.
As Bob Topp, a Muskoka cottager and spokesperson for the Coalition After Property Tax Reform (CAPTR), noted in a press release today, taxes will be “more predictable within each four-year period but the problem of volatility caused by a market-driven system remains.”
The province-wide coalition of ratepayer and seniors organizations had been calling for a five per cent cap on assessment increases. “If Finance Minister Sorbara had combined his four-year cycle with our call for a five per cent cap on annual assessment increases, he would have provided real property-tax stability,” Topp said.
Earlier this month, CAPTR backed the pledge of John Tory, leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party, to cap annual property assessment increases at five per cent if the party wins the provincial election on October 10th.