Use of Tax Tools

Res #: 9-13M
Number: 9
Year: 2013
Midterm: Yes
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Government Relations

WHEREAS the Ministry of Government Relations has made regulations requiring mill rate factors to  have  mill rate ratios of no greater than 15 to 1; and

WHEREAS this shows an obvious inequity between assessment classes, and an abuse of power; and

WHEREAS each Council Member prior to taking office must subscribe to an “Oath” promising to “faithfully and impartially” perform the duties of their office; and

WHEREAS due to this abuse by some, the Minister will not consider allowing rural municipalities to have the same mill rate factor tax  tools as the cities, as he indicated to the Rurals Bordering Urbans Committee on July 30, 2013; and

WHEREAS many municipalities have reason to require sub-classes for mill rate factors for fair and equitable tax cushioning, but are not allowed this tool due to the abuse of a few; and

WHEREAS each one of us has an obligation to our ratepayers and to this association to uphold a reputation of being fair and honourable; and

WHEREAS all rural municipalities are being punished for the actions of a few;

BE IT RESOLVED that the Membership request the Ministry of Government Relations deal with the few municipalities that abuse the use of tax tools and allow the majority of the municipalities to use the tax tools they require.

Response from Jim Reiter, Minister of Government Relations and Minister Responsible for First Nations, Metis and Northern Affairs

•    In order to mitigate property tax shifts to commercial and industrial from agricultural and residential property and build on the interim measure of a 15.0 highest to lowest mill rate factor ratio limit, it has been announced that:

o     The ratio of highest to lowest mill rate factors implemented by a municipality will be limited to 9.0 for all municipalities based on the recent ministry review.

o    Regulatory amendments under The Cities Act, The Municipalities Act, and The Northern Municipalities Act, 2010 retroactive to January 1, 2014, will be made in order to implement this for 2014.

o    The Ministry of Government Relations will continue to closely monitor and analyze the use by local municipal councils of all local tax tools.  Municipalities should continue to strive for taxation fairness and if there are indications of misuse, government may make adjustments, if warranted, in subsequent years.

•    Government is taking this action in the interests of protecting Saskatchewan's plan for growth.  Government is committed to removing barriers that may place unnecessary delays or burdens on industry competitiveness and growth.

•    Government has made decisions about limits on mill rate factors.  Decisions regarding other tax tools may be made in the future.

•    Tax fairness is a key consideration.  Fairness generally depends on one's perspective, but relative differences from the way other taxpayers are treated tend to be important.

Updated response from Ministry of Government Relations dated July 4, 2017