FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is beginning the process of making the property tax system more fair, equitable and transparent, releasing today Improving New Brunswick's property tax system: a white paper.

Environment and Local Government Minister Bruce Fitch released the document, which makes 12 recommendations based on provincewide consultations.

"With this white paper, we are fulfilling our commitment to make a fairer and more effective property tax system," said Fitch. "We are doing this by reducing the tax on the most heavily taxed groups, ensuring that police services are more fairly distributed and by returning to an assessment system based on market value, which will allow the tax burden among homes to be distributed more equitably."

The white paper recommends:

●    allowing New Brunswick taxpayers to pay their property taxes monthly and making their future property tax bills clearer;
●    reducing the provincial property tax rate on rental properties, businesses/commercial properties and second homes;
●    returning to a market value system of assessment for all homeowners while providing a permanent exemption for the 146,000 homeowners who benefitted from the two-year assessment cap;
●    improving assessment processes and introducing a new spike protection mechanism, both of which will help lessen the impact of any future large assessment increases;
●    distributing policing costs more fairly among all users of the service through a new cost-sharing model for RCMP services;
●    minimizing the impact of these reforms on homeowners and businesses in local service districts;
●    ensuring farmers are not seriously impacted by the reforms; and
●    exempting libraries from property tax.

"By introducing the three-per-cent cap on assessments, we protected homeowners who had been experiencing large increases in their tax bills and allowed time to consult extensively in the areas of local governance and property taxation," said Fitch. "This white paper is the result of that hard work and a meaningful conversation about a system that has not been reformed for decades."

LINK:

●    Department of Environment and Local Government