Tax increases out of whack

Dear editor,

Like so many others last week I performed my annual pilgrimage down to municipal hall, chequebook in hand, to pay my taxes. The cheque I had to write was 10 per cent higher than last year. No big surprise there, it costs to live in paradise!

When I got home I stuffed the tax receipt in that bulging file folder I keep: House taxes/insurance. While doing so I came across my tax receipt for 2006 and some interesting facts emerged…

First some details: I bought this old house of mine in 2002 and moved into it after making renovations to it. Since then I have done absolutely NOTHING to this house. The house is the same, the driveway is the same, landscaping, etc….EVERYTHING is the same. The only thing I have done to this property in all that time is to throw some paint at it one year and if you asked my neighbours, they would probably tell you it’s time to do that again. I only mention all the above to show that my house could serve as a very good yardstick to measure what has happened to property taxes over the last dozen years.

Gross taxes (no grant, no 65-plus) went from $1,928 in 2006 to $2,920 in 2017…an increase of $992 or 51 per cent.

Net taxes (homeowner grant) went from $1,358 to $2,150…an increase of $792 or 58 per cent.

If I had been unfortunate enough to have been a ‘senior’ all these 12 years, my taxes would have gone from $1,083 in 2006 to $1,875 in 2017… an increase of $792 dollars or 73 per cent!!! (While our politicians wax eloquent every time the subject of seniors comes up, obviously they think that is where the money is.)

According to Statistics Canada, the cumulative inflation rate from 2006 to 2016 (last year available) is 17 per cent. If we were to add 2017 to that number we wouldn’t even get to 20 per cent inflation for the period. The hard, sad truth is that for the last 12 years, property taxes have been going up TWO AND A HALF times faster than inflation. For us ‘geezers’ it’s even worse at more than TRIPLE the inflation rate.

Recently Courtenay’s CAO stated that the population has increased by 40 per cent over several years. Unless all these new arrivals have been sleeping under the 17th Street Bridge, one has to assume that the tax base has increased at a corresponding rate.

To put these facts and numbers in perspective…ask yourself how well you would be doing if you made two to three times the hourly rate you made in 2006…. AND you now worked 40 per cent more hours than you did back then…

Francois Lepine

Courtenay (aka ‘Paradise’)