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City taxes up 66.5% since 2001, overall increase of 36%

Though each tax increase in a given year might seem small, year over year tax increases have been significant – a whopping 66.5% on the city portion of taxes since 2001 (see chart below), for an overall increase of 36% when blended with regional and education taxes.

Tax increases since 2001 - City 66.5%, overall 35% (when blended with regional/education taxes)
Tax increases since 2001 – City 66.5%, overall 35% (when blended with regional/education taxes)

My Take: Ultimately, the size of the tax increase, the amount of nice-to-haves, the draws on reserves and small amount of efficiencies, led me to vote against this budget. The majority – 87% – of this year’s requests were approved, either as additions to the base budget or draws on reserves. We need to be more disciplined about saying no and focusing on need to haves, especially in light of the current economic climate.

Growth is at 1% (according to the Bank of Canada), many of our residents are on fixed incomes, and others have had either no wage increases or nominal ones. According to Statistics Canada data for Ontario, average weekly earnings increased 2% from Jan 2012 to Dec 2012.

Some residents are at the tipping point of what they can continue to pay, especially our seniors on fixed incomes who get no additional income increase in this same period. Property taxes don’t fluctuate based on ability to pay, so a 4.46% increase in this climate, on top of 35% historic tax increases, is a strain for many of our residents.

Your take: Leave a comment below or email your thoughts to me at Marianne.meedward@burlington.ca.

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

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  1. I have been retired for 15 years and over that time my income has slowly but steadily declined. This means that taxes are becoming a bigger and bigger part of my expenses. I believe the city should live within its income without constantly raising the tax rate. I’m sure that many other retirees would agree.

What's your take?