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Halifax mulls over possible 9.7 per cent tax hike

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The city of Halifax is facing a $68.7 million revenue shortfall and the advice from staff is to have residents pay for it through a proposed hike in property taxes.

“9.7 per cent is the highest I’ve seen since I’ve been on council. I definitely won’t be supporting that,” says councillor Tony Mancini.

According to Jay Goldberg of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, a 9.7 per cent tax increase will add an extra $221 to the bill for the average household in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

“That’s as much money as a week of groceries for a family of four.”

And with the cost-of-living still rising, future increases could put families struggling to make ends meet over the edge and into poverty.

“If you see this kind of increase over the next five years, you’re looking at $1,000 dollars out of the pockets of the average household,” Goldberg says.

A property tax hike of almost 10 per cent could also prevent some from moving off the streets and into secure housing.

“Higher taxes will result in higher rents for new units to market, higher taxes will result in higher rent for first time renters. The Halifax Regional Municipality needs to get their house in order and manage their budgets,” says Kevin Russell, the executive director of the Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia.

That’s exactly how Mancini plans to proceed.

“What are the projects for 2024? Are there maybe projects we can cut back on or services we can cut back on? Are there projects that we can defer for another year?” Mancini says.

Halifax has been down this road before. Last year‘s proposed increase was eight per cent before council settled on a hike of 5.9 per cent.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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