Service New Brunswick
REVISED / Minister says property assessment freeze is the fair choice30 June 2017
FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued today by Environment and Local Government Minister Serge Rousselle:
When the report into the assessment system was delayed from August to November, the provincial government was faced with two choices. First, although there had been thousands of errors every year since 2011, we could have allowed a flawed and error-prone system to continue in order to generate more revenue for municipalities. Or second, we could have frozen assessments until we can restore public confidence in the system.
We believe that a freeze to most assessments until the property assessment system has been improved is the only responsible choice. Instead of waiting to announce this next fall at the last minute, we have given municipalities over six months’ notice of this freeze to allow them to plan. We have also exempted new construction and real estate sales from the freeze to allow municipal revenues to grow, and we are investing in infrastructure like hospitals, schools, colleges and universities which also increases revenue for municipalities. Moreover, 100 per cent of revenue from owner-occupied properties goes to local governments.
Since the global economic crisis of 2008, municipal revenues have increased by an estimated 43 per cent, while total provincial revenues have increased by an estimated 27.8 per cent. The freeze applies for only one year and will not have a long-term impact on revenue for municipalities.
As a government, we are committed to fixing the issue of property tax assessments. From day one, we have been taking action. We have ordered Service New Brunswick to fix every inaccurate bill, an independent review is ongoing and we will get out of the property tax assessment business altogether, by putting this in the hands of an independent agency and by freezing assessments in 2018.