Letter to the editor – All Candidates Meeting

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Dear Editor,

At the all candidates meeting of October 2, I asked a simple question. “Do all candidates own their home and pay property taxes in North Grenville?”

For the record, all candidates answered in the affirmative except for Deron Johnston, who answered, “I’m a renter, and I’m not sure why it matters.” It was interesting that the moderator, Mr. Jansen, decided to add his own answer (clarification) despite the fact that the question was not posed to him, but to the candidates, with the statement that “… people who rent, they pay taxes. Their rent pays their taxes.”

There is some truth in Mr. Jansen’s statement, but it’s more complicated than that. Rents are largely determined by the rental market and provincial rent controls. So, for example, if a landlord receives a whopping 50% increase in their MPAC assessment, plus a 2% increase in their tax rates, for a total increase of 53% in their property taxes, these increased costs cannot be fully passed on to the tenant. The tenant is shielded from high property tax increases through rent controls and the affordability limits on the rental market. Landlords and property owners do not have the province stepping in with “MPAC controls” or “municipal tax controls” to assist them in affording their property taxes. If property taxes continue to rise faster than rents, eventually it won’t make sense to own rental property or your home. Maybe this is one of the reasons why there is so little affordable housing.

It is important to me that the councillors of this municipality who can impose tax increases on the electorate should also share the responsibility (and pain) of directly paying their share of the property tax increases.

Stephen Hammond

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