Kris Austin says Gallant government property tax scandal highlights need for major changes
The leader of the People’s Alliance party is calling on Service New Brunswick Minister Ed Doherty to resign and the government employees responsible for artificially inflating over 2,000 property owners’ tax bills to be dismissed.
CBC New Brunswick had reported “An internal Service New Brunswick email obtained by CBC News shows senior provincial government assessment officials invented renovation amounts for 2,048 homeowners with large assessment increases this spring, allowing the province to evade a legal 10 per cent cap on the homes’ property tax bills”. PANB Leader Kris Austin calls this an act of fraud by senior government officials within Service New Brunswick, and that Minister Doherty is responsible for his department and must resign.
“The Minister responsible must immediately resign,” says Austin “the people of New Brunswick demand our elected officials be in control of their portfolio, Mr.Doherty clearly is not. As for those at Service New Brunswick who artificially inflated citizens’ property tax bills, those employees must also be held accountable. Trust needs to be restored in our system, we demand no less.”
Austin also says it is becoming increasingly clear that the current tax system as created and supported by the two parties is failing. The Gallant government says it will farm out assessments to a private company, which Austin opposes. He says a People’s Alliance government would get in line with the rest of Canada and give assessment authority back to municipalities, with the province’s support and that of the regional service commissions.
“New Brunswick is the only province in Canada that does not allow local municipalities to have any control on property assessments,” said Austin. “The People’s Alliance is committed to reforming the property tax system through ending the double tax and returning assessment powers back to municipalities. Contrary to what we have today, our plan will also enable cities, towns, and villages to receive fair and reasonable tax revenue from industry by including machinery and equipment in local assessments.”