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Kelly Says Legislation Unfair to HRM
(Friday, May 7/2004)-- Halifax Regional Municipality expressed concern today over legislation introduced by the provincial government which arbitrarily alters the assessment process as it applies to the Imperial Refinery in Dartmouth.
"Naturally, any time there is a major change in the assessment process targeted to assist any particular business or any sector of the economy, all municipalities have to be concerned, " Mayor Peter Kelly said. "The assessment roll should not be used as a tool for economic development by the Province."
Mayor Kelly said the immediate impact of the Oil Refineries and Natural Gas Plants Municipal Taxation Act is that HRM will be receiving approximately $600,000 less in commercial taxes than it had been promised and budgeted for in 2004/2005.
A news release by the Province stated HRM will be receiving $1.4 million in additional revenue from the Imperial refinery this year, compared to last, for a total of $3.6 million.
"However, the amount that we will be receiving is about $600,000 short of what we built into our budgetary process and well short of what the Province previously advised us last month," the Mayor said. "If the Province is concerned about the competitiveness of the Imperial Refinery, than it should provide assistance through normal means of economic development, such as tax payroll rebates, investment credits Kyoto credits, etc."
He said the net effect of this approach is downloading this tax loss to business or industry by the Province to the taxpayers of the municipality in which the business or industry is located.
Mayor Kelly said Halifax Regional Council will be discussing the provincial legislation early next week. In the meantime, HRM Financial Services has been asked to obtain all necessary information regarding the Bill and to begin calculating the immediate and long-term effects the legislation, if passed, will have on the municipality's tax revenues.
Mayor Peter Kelly
Director, Financial Services