Government action would have prevented assessment stress

NDP Municipal Affairs Critic George Murphy

NDP Municipal Affairs Critic George Murphy (MHA, St. John’s East) says that the latest round of municipal assessments is causing stress to taxpayers and municipal leaders alike, and the provincial government is to blame for not having a new fiscal arrangement in place.

“Taxpayers province-wide are worried about possible increases to the tax they pay, and municipalities are feeling pressured by new municipal assessment numbers,” said Murphy. “Assessments completed this year have raised home values, in some areas of the province, by as much as 70 per cent.

“Government has dragged their heels on this issue for years now, in spite of the hue and cry from municipal leaders,” said Murphy. “I said, back in the spring session, that it was urgent for the government to have a funding formula in place so municipalities would not be pressured by new municipal assessment numbers. Now, province-wide, taxpayers are upset that their taxes could possibly increase as a result, and neither group is happy about it.

“Government is, once again, evading responsibility by asking municipalities to submit budget requests. They know what municipalities need, because our towns and cities have been asking for the same thing for years,” said Murphy. “Let’s just see some action, for once.”

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