Owners of businesses and apartment buildings in New Brunswick could see additional relief on their property tax bills.
A temporary spike protection mechanism, used to limit sky-rocketing property values from drastically increasing a property tax bill, was introduced by the provincial government Friday morning.
“The two years of spike protection is, I’m hoping, a pathway to spike protection for everybody forever ongoing,” New Brunswick Finance Minister Ernie Steeves told reporters.
Later, Steeves said that’s only his opinion and not a decision that’s been voted on by cabinet.
For now, the relief will be in effect for the 2022 and 2023 property taxation years, and will be available on non-residential properties, and apartment buildings with four units or more, with annual assessment increases greater than 10 per cent.
A similar spike protection mechanism was introduced in 2013 for homeowners.
Another temporary measure to ease the pressure caused by the rising cost of living was a point of issue for Green Party Leader David Coon.
Recently, Coon had argued for the province’s 3.8 per cent rent cap to be extended over several years, with regulations allowing for its review and removal.
“He’s just throwing out breadcrumbs with these one-time-only things. One-time-only rent cap for one year, one-time-only rent spike protection commercially for two years. There needs to be thoughtful policy,” Coon said.
According to Liberal MLA Jacques LeBlanc, providing property tax relief on commercial properties is a positive start, though it should not be used on a temporary basis.
If it continues on in its current state, LeBlanc fears the spike protection measure could result in more harm to tenants in the short term.
“The fact is that they have to pay the brunt of the bill this year, and they’re only going to get a credit next year,” he said.
LeBlanc added the implementation of a two-year spike protection for landlords, while the rent cap remains on for just one year, is a sign of inequality.
According to a government news release, the relief program will provide provincial and local property tax savings of about $10 million for apartment buildings of four units or more, and $4 million for non-residential properties.