To the editor:
Tenants living in multi-residential buildings in Thunder Bay are currently being overcharged a tax ratio 2.5 times higher than homeowners. About 5,500 tenants are being overcharged up to $1,200 a year.Thunder Bay Coalition Against Property Tax Discrimination understands the financial challenges facing the City of Thunder Bay when it comes to setting taxation policy. We know that caps to commercial tax rates and reassessment of the grain elevators, Resolute, Canadian Tire and other tax losses in the industrial sector due to the recession have adversely affected the tax base and City operating revenues.
Our goal is not to further burden the tax base but to make this a fair and attractive place to live and invest for all people so that it can grow and prosper. We believe we can work together in cooperation to achieve this goal.
The Province of Ontario has directed the reduction of multi-residential tax rates over the next four years from the current ratio of 2.47 to 2.0. These reductions are already planned and budgeted for by the City of Thunder Bay.
You should know that with this gradual four years reduction, most tenants in Thunder Bay will not receive any financial benefit. These benefits will be absorbed by the landlords as the percentage reduction is too minimal to pass onto tenants.
Tenants in Thunder Bay will only benefit if the reduction is expedited from four years to two years. Landlords are mandated by Section 131 of the Residential Tenancies Act to pass down any tax decrease greater than 2.49 per cent.
A faster decrease will positively impact the Thunder Bay rental market in many ways; it will reduce rent rates for tenants; it will make living standards more affordable; it will increase competition among landlords to reduce rents and improve quality of housing; it will improve the quality of life of local people by reducing their monthly living expenses thereby giving them more disposable income.
It is also important to remember the positive impact it will have on NonProfit Housing in Thunder Bay by reducing the waiting lists.
Thunder Bay Property Tax Coalition urges City Councillors to consider a reduction from 2.47 to 2.25 in the current taxation.
We also recommend a reduction from 2.25 to 2.00 in 2019 so the greatest impact will benefit the Tenants of the City of Thunder Bay.
Mary Creed, Maxine Lorentson,
Thunder Bay Coalition Against Property Tax Discrimination