A Internet Argument Ender about local tax rates
April 14, 2019 3:00 PM   Subscribe

A Internet Argument Ender about local tax rates
I got sick to the teeth of the constant whining about our municipal taxes on local social media and Reddit, so spent an afternoon doing some research on comparable municipalities and tax rates in Ontario. The more valuable end of this from a broader perspective might be a follow-on page about why ratio complaints (our city pays more for XXX than any other city, or our city's taxes are a higher percentage of YYY than other cities') are kind of bullshit.
Role: Researcher/writer/creator
posted by Shepherd (2 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This project was posted to MetaFilter by sardonyx on April 24, 2019: A Internet Argument Ender about local tax rates

This is a nifty dive into a headachey topic in these particular times (IMMA TAXPAYER!!! GOVERNMENT FOR THE PEOPLE!!!) here in Ontario.

So this really is fudging something in search of a better way of doing it, but without home price averages (ideally for single-home residences, to align with our tax category) for individual municipalities instead of huge catchments, it's hard to find a better way.

If you haven't had a look, MPAC may have that data, but you might have to pay for it.

Milton, for instance, is our outlier here. The suspicion is that as essentially a borough they can lean into Toronto as a sports/culture/transit mecca, so they can offer a dramatically lower tax rate than some of their peers in size. The other cities on the list are "standalones", and essentially are providing Toronto-level services but to much smaller populations.

Yeah, it's been able to get away with not providing (and paying the full freight for) what we might call a mature suite of municipal services for a number of reasons, and the current mayor (now Canada's longest-serving, at 13 terms) takes it as an article of faith that property taxes shall not rise for any reason (more or less), and he will likely be re-elected until he's carried from his office.

The other thing to note about Milton is that it also has a municipal tier above it (the regional municipality of Halton, which, pending the provincial review of regional muncipalities, may or may not change dramatically), so certain costs are shared out between municipalities large and small within the region (e.g., Halton Regional Police Service).
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:54 AM on April 15


Cost-sharing however, doesn't necessarily bring a financial benefit. Look at Cambridge, Waterloo and Kitchener in your data. They're all part of the same municipality, but Cambridge is typically the "poor cousin" in the relationship (even though its the middle city in terms of size) and yet its rates are higher than those of the other two cities. In fact, most Cambridge residents would say that to some degree, K-W is leeching off of Cambridge (see all arguments about the rapid transit system in the region).

This is really nice work, Shepherd. Well done.
posted by sardonyx at 10:04 AM on April 22


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