FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government introduced today legislation that will make the property tax system more fair, equitable and transparent.

The Property Tax Reform Act, introduced by Environment and Local Government Minister Bruce Fitch, will also begin to implement measures outlined in Improving New Brunswick's property tax system: a white paper, released in September.

"I am pleased we have taken this step to fulfilling our commitment to make a fairer and more effective property tax system," said Fitch. "The changes will reduce the tax on the most heavily taxed properties; ensure that police services are fairly distributed; and return the assessment system to market value, which will allow the tax burden among homes to be distributed more equitably, all while ensuring property owners who benefited from the three-per-cent cap are able to keep that savings until they sell their home."

Phase I of the property tax reforms included will:

●    implement a property tax equalized payment plan for homeowners;
●    redesign the property tax bill;
●    reduce provincial taxation on non-owner-occupied housing by 33.4 cents over four years;
●    reduce provincial taxation on other residential properties (farm land, vacant land, etc.) by 24 cents over four years;
●    reduce the provincial property tax on businesses by 33 cents over four years;
●    adjust the Farm Land Identification Program;
●    exempt libraries from provincial and municipal property taxes;
●    return assessments to market value over the long term while current property owners keep any savings they received in the last two years;
●    create a 10-per-cent assessment spike protection mechanism to protect property owners from major one-year spikes in assessment;
●    place the cost of policing on the local tax rate in local service districts and rural communities that do not provide it themselves, phased in over four years; and
●    reduce the provincial levy in local service districts and rural communities that do not provide policing service by 22 cents, also phased in over four years.

"These measures are the result of the conversations we have had during the extensive consultation process," said Fitch. "This is a major step forward in making the property tax system more fair, equitable and transparent for New Brunswickers and fulfils yet another commitment made in the Action Plan for a New Local Governance System in New Brunswick."


●    Department of Environment and Local Government