Coun. Ned Taylor would like to see additional cuts to Saanich’s proposed tax increase.
“Due to a number of factors we’ve been able to reduce the potential tax lift by about 1.15 [per cent] and I’m really pleased with that,” he said. This said, he would like to see additional changes to the proposed tax lift.
Saanich’s current budget draft proposes to increase revenue from property taxes by 4.78 per cent. Its initial draft proposed to increase property tax revenues by 5.93 per cent.
“We are still looking at a significant tax lift, which is concerning for me, but the budget process is far from over,” he said. “I’m hopeful that we can make some additional savings to ensure that our residents can afford this year’s taxes.”
Within this context, he reiterated widespread concerns about the introduction of the Employers Health Tax (EHT), which Saanich has to absorb following. According to the draft budget, the tax applies to all employee groups working for the municipality, and replaces Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums, which employees either fully paid or cost-shared with the District, depending on the union.
“I maintain disappointed with the [provincial] download of MSPs, which has contributed to a total increase of 1.5 [per cent] in our property taxes, there’s simply nothing that we can do about that.”
The Saanich News has also asked other members of council to weigh in, and will add comments as they become available.