Campaigns Archive - Articles
Property Tax Update-Feb 25, 2015
During the recent municipal elections in Manitoba, CCI Manitoba’s property tax campaign engaged municipal politicians in our efforts to reduce the property tax portion paid by condominium owners.
In the City of Winnipeg, we sent a letter and survey to all Mayoral and Council candidates. We explained our position and asked them questions that included whether they would help us advocate to the province for fairer condominium property taxes and whether they would support a by-law effectively lowering the property tax portion charged to condominium owners. We then shared their answers with CCI members in order to help them make an informed decision on election day.
Outside of Winnipeg, we supported campaign volunteers who asked for help engaging local candidates. In the Rural Municipality of Springfield, our volunteers were very engaged and the campaign communicated extensively with the Reeve and Council candidates. The newly elected Reeve Bodnaruk is supportive of our campaign (as was the outgoing Reeve). Some of the incoming councillors are as well.
In the City of Winnipeg, Brian Bowman was the Mayoral candidate who was most supportive of our campaign. In his response to our survey, he stated that he would be willing to advocate to the Province to lower the property tax portion paid by condominiums. He also stated that he would support a municipal by-law to lower the property tax portion charged to condominiums in Winnipeg. He has now been elected the new Mayor of Winnipeg. Since the election, he has confirmed his support for our efforts to our campaign’s coordinator. We have now formally requested a meeting with his office to meet to move forward on the issue. We eagerly await that meeting in order to discuss with the Mayor concrete steps to achieving property tax fairness in Manitoba.
With the support of municipal leaders like Mayor Bowman and Reeve Bodnaruk, we are gaining momentum and important allies. We intend to build on these commitments in order to achieve our goal.
A Review and Update on the Property Tax Campaign
We have now created an online petition which you can find by clicking HERE Please help us spread the word and gather even more signatures!
Since the last Annual General Meeting, the Property Tax Fairness Campaign has been very active. Hundreds of calls, emails and letters were delivered to Minister Stuthers and we have gathered approximately 1000 signatures for our petition. We are grateful to all of our volunteers for their support for the campaign. Thanks to everyone who participated.
We met with Minister Stan Struthers, Manitoba Minister of Municipal Government as well as the Deputy Minister and Assistant Deputy Minister for the department. While the meeting was cordial, they made no commitments during the meeting and we have received no follow up action from them since the meeting.
We did receive a request from the opposition to contribute to their policy making process for the next election. We will be engaging with all three provincial parties as they prepare for the next provincial election. We want a solution for all Manitoba condo owners and this requires action at the provincial level. So far, the opposition has shown more interest in the issue than the government. But we want action to lower the property tax rate paid by condominium owners and not just discussions.
In order to achieve results, we also think it is time to engage our municipal politicians. There are municipal elections taking place across Manitoba in October 2014. Now is the best time to raise awareness with municipal candidates of the pressing need for property tax fairness.
Please tell your council and Mayoral candidates that you believe that the property tax system is unfair to condominium owners. Detached homes and condominiums should not be taxed at the same rate. Please tell them that their position on this issue will affect your vote.
The Property Tax Fairness Campaign will be contacting all candidates to share information with them. We will also be asking them their position on property taxes for condominiums. We will be sharing the results with you before you vote in the municipal election in October! Watch your next communication from CCI-Manitoba for more information on how the candidates responded.
Thank you for your continued support for property tax fairness!
PAUL HESSE, Pitblado LLP
Call or email your MLA today and tell them that you are not happy with the property taxes paid by condominium owners!
News on the Property Tax Campaign
Thank you to all our volunteers and letter writers!!
The Property Tax Committee, working with Paul Hesse, continues to attempt to enlighten and engage provincial legislators regarding the campaign on behalf of condominium owners to bring about fair property tax amendments.
While Minister Lemieux, when he was Minister of Local Government, did not support the condominium property tax reform issue, his successor, Minister Stan Struthers, has been more prepared to keep an open mind and attempt to hear the concerns and valid points raised by condominium owners.
On Tuesday, April 8th, 2014, Paul Hesse and I had the opportunity to meet with Minister Struthers, Minister of Municipal Government. We found Minister Struthers and his staff to be very welcoming and interested in the information we were providing them. We believe that he and his staff are beginning to understand the concerns and inequities of the current property tax portioning.
We continue to educate the Government on a number of facts such as;
1. One study showed that condo residents paid an average of 57-84% more per person in property tax as compared to per person in a single family home.
2. The current property tax system is regressive. It results in higher property tax per person in a condo as well as higher taxes as a percentage of income for condo owners.
3. Unfair tax proportion discourages density efficiencies and construction, as well as negatively impacts housing and rental choices.
You, as a condominium owner or professional, can help the Property Tax Committee and CCI reach this goal by continuing to write letters and make phone calls to the Ministers and, in particular, Minister Struthers.
We need to let them know this matter will not go away until it receives the concerted and serious consideration it deserves, not just for the benefit of condominium owners, but for all residents of Manitoba and the long-term growth of our province.
Please contact Minister Struthers and thank him for meeting with the Property Tax Committee of CCI, Manitoba Chapter and let him know that we are hoping he will give the condominium property tax reform issue due consideration. Now that he has heard our position on the current regressive tax system, I am sure he would like to know that you appreciate any assistance he may offer.
Minister Stan Struthers can be reached via phone at 204-945-3788 or by mail to:
Room 301, Legislative Building, 450 Broadway, Winnipeg, MB, R3C 0V8.
One of our closing comments to Minister Struthers was that one thing was for certain about condominium owners, they are resolved to not let this matter go away and they are very vocal and engaged with this matter; they will get their point across.
Let’s continue to put the pressure on until we have helped them to recognize the need for progressive tax reform.
BRENDA BRYDGES, ACCI
Chair, Property Tax Committee
CCI Manitoba Chapter
News On the Property Tax Fairness Campaign
Thank you to all of our volunteers who have been assisting the campaign! Condo owners have distributed flyers, made phone calls, sent emails and collected signatures on petitions in support of property tax fairness campaign. Thank you to everyone who has helped so far!
We have been disappointed by the response so far by our provincial government. Last year, we wrote to Minister Ron Lemieux, provincial Minister of Local Government reponsible for the property tax system in Manitoba. We requested a meeting to discuss property tax fairness for condominium owners. He replied that he did not have the time to meet with representatives from the campaign. He also wrote that when Manitoba increased the property tax portion paid by condominium owners from 32.7% to 45% of fair market value, this removed the “inequity” of taxing detached homes and condominiums at different rates. He also suggested that the significant increase in market values that condominiums have experienced is a sign that the current system is fine.
Then, the Premier shuffled his cabinet and we received two new Ministers. Minister Stan Struthers is now responsible for Local Government (outside of Winnipeg) and Minister Kevin Chief is responsible for the City of Winnipeg. We wrote to both of them and asked for a meeting to discuss the condominium property tax system. On behalf of the provincial government, Minister Struthers has written that “due to other commitments, I am not able to meet with your organization on this matter.” He also writes that “I can advise that the Province is not contemplating changes to the assessment and tax framework for condominiums at this time.” View a copy of Minsiter Struther's letter of response here.
It is disappointing that Manitoba’s Minister has declined to meet with CCI. We believe our provincial government’s representative should find time for a meeting with representatives of the Property Tax Committee. We are acting on behalf of well over 20,000 condo residents in Winnipeg alone and thousands more outside of Winnipeg.
Please help us to continue to press for property tax fairness for condominium owners. Call or email your MLA and tell them that you are not happy with the property taxes paid by condominium owners!
Please also call or email the Premier’s office to express your displeasure that his Minister will not meet with representatives of the condominium community about condominium property taxes.
Premier Selinger’s office number is 204-945-3714 and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your ongoing support for condominium property tax fairness! Together we will achieve improvements to the condominium property tax system.
PAUL HESSE, PITBLADO LLP
You can find the contact information for your MLA here:
News on the Property Tax Fairness Campaign
Thank you to all of our volunteers who have been assisting the campaign! Condo owners have been distributing flyers, making phone calls and sending emails in support of property tax fairness. Thank you to everyone who has helped so far!
If flyers have not been distributed in your building yet, please contact Paul Hesse so he can make arrangements for delivery.
We have been disappointed by the initial response by our provincial government. We wrote to Minister Ron Lemieux, Provincial Minister of Local Government reponsible for the property tax system in Manitoba. We requested a meeting to discuss property tax fairness for condominium owners. He replied that he did not have the time to meet with representatives from the campaign.
Minister Lemieux also wrote that when Manitoba increased the property tax portion paid by condominium owners from 32.7% to 45% of fair market value, this removed the “inequity” of taxing detached homes and condominiums at different rates.
He went on to say that the common-element charges that condo owners pay is similar to the upkeep that single family homeowners are responsible for on the property that they own. He also suggested that the significant increase in market values that condominiums have experienced is a sign that the current system is fine.
Click here to view a copy of the letter from Minister Lemieux.
It is too bad that Minister Lemieux did not agree to meet with CCI. There has now been a cabinet shuffle and Minister Lemieux’s role has been divided into two cabinet positions. Minister Kevin Chief is responsible for the City of Winnipeg and Minister Stan Struthers is responsible for all other local governments. We have now written to both Minister Kevin Chief and Minister Stan Struthers to request a meeting.
We would like to sit down and talk about these issues briefly with our elected government. Our concerns include that the same size of lot can be taxed 10 or 20 times higher for condominiums than for detached homes. This makes little sense when housing density is more efficient for government service delivery. We would also like an opportunity to show how condominiums often use and receive fewer public services than detached homes. We would like the chance to show that condos are usually responsible for more upkeep than detached homeowners.
We would also like to share examples from Manitoba’s past and from other provinces where adjustments have been made to property taxes where services differ. Manitoba recently reduced the property tax portion paid by post-secondary education institutions. So, there are precedents for what we are requesting.
This is not just a City of Winnipeg issue, this affects every condo in the province including municipalities like Brandon, Gimli, Lockport, Niverville and Steinbach.
We acknowledge that condominium owners do benefit from government services, such as policing and fire protection. We are not asking to pay no property taxes, we are just asking to pay fair property taxes!
So please help us to continue to press for property tax fairness for condominium owners.Please call or email your MLA and tell them that you are not happy with the property taxes paid by condominium owners.
We currently have a petition circulating which you can download here, should you have any questions regarding the petition please contact me at your convenience,my contact information is also listed above.
Thank you for your support for condominium property tax fairness!
Paul Hesse, Pitblado LLP
PROPERTY TAX FAIRNESS
By Paul Hesse, Property Tax Committee
Property taxes are rising. Both municipalities and school boards are increasing your property taxes faster than inflation.
The Winnipeg School Division has, for example, proposed a 6.8% tax hike this year. Last year, that division increased rates by 7.8%. Other divisions are also calling for tax hikes. The Brandon School Division, as another example, is proposing an 8.5% increase.
The City of Brandon increased its property taxes by an average of 4.9% last year, while the City of Winnipeg increased its property taxes by an average of 3.5% last year and by 3.9% this year.
Not all property types are treated equally. Residential properties will see a relative increase in their share of property taxes, while businesses will see a relative decrease. This is a result of residential properties increasing in value faster than commercial properties.
In addition, condominiums are taxed at a higher rate than recreational properties and farms. So, your proportional increase in property taxes will be greater than owners of those properties.
It is time for a real discussion about property tax fairness. The provincial government divides different properties into different classes. Commercial properties, farms, recreational properties, apartments, single family homes and condominiums are all different classes and are all taxed at a given “portion” determined by the province.
Recreational properties pay a portion of 10% of the fair market value of the property. Condominiums used to pay a portion of 32.7% and now pay 45%. Single family houses used to be taxed at a 48.6% portion and now pay 45%. So, condominium owners have seen the biggest increases in property taxes over the last 15 years because of the provincial “portion” rules. Now with property taxes increasing, condominium owners face even greater pain.
Is that fair when condominiums are generally more efficient and cost-effective for government than single family homes? Is that fair when condominiums offer environmental advantages? Is it fair that property taxes per person are much higher for condominiums than for single family homes? Is it fair that condominium owners pay 4 times the tax rate of recreational properties?
CCI-Manitoba has started a tax fairness campaign. We are currently updating our research and preparing materials to get the message out about tax fairness.
We are looking for volunteers who are willing to make a few phone calls, send a few emails or drop some information in the mail slots of your building as part of our property tax fairness campaign. It will not take much of your time, but your help will be of great value.
If you would like to help with the property tax fairness campaign, please call Paul Hesse at (204) 956-3561 or email him at email@example.com
Thank you in advance for your help in achieving property tax fairness.