In Question Period on Thursday, Algoma Manitoulin NDP MPP Michael Mantha said that Kathleen Wynne has ignored the concerns of northern Ontario families being priced out of their homes by property assessment increases that are hundreds of times above the provincial average.
Mantha was joined by 84-year-old Schreiber resident Annie Scott who is struggling just to hold on to the house she has lived in for the past 50 years because of high property taxes that continue to increase year over year. Scott is one of 40 property owners on Walkers Lake that have been calling for change since 2016 but continues to be let down by the Wynne government.
“These residents have seen their MPAC assessments skyrocket by an average of 25 percent with no explanation,” said Mantha. “To compare, the provincial average increase is only 20 percent. Mrs. Scott’s house has been assessed almost $100,000 more than another nearby house twice its size. She says she can no longer afford to live in her home, but no one will buy it because of the high taxes.”
Annie Scott and her family, Keith Scott and Sharon Garon spoke at a press conference Thursday morning. Mantha said that Premier Wynne is failing northern Ontario families, as property tax increases cripple families throughout the region.
“In 2016, farm assessments on Manitoulin Island doubled with no explanation,” said Mantha. “I can promise you that the income from these farms did not double. As speculators play havoc with Ontario’s real estate market, MPAC assessments have become more arbitrary, inconsistent and unfair. And as the Auditor-General revealed in her most recent report, property owners can’t count on the Assessment Review Board to treat them fairly.
“Families like the Scotts have asked the Premier for help, but she has done nothing. When will the Premier fix the MPAC assessment process?” asked Mantha.
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Kathleen Wynne does NOT care about us, she only has the interest of her parties and her donors at heart.
I am convinced that MPAC’s main preoccupation is to raise money through higher assessments and property taxes. During my time in Wawa, being familiar with property values, I was able to reduce my assessments by as much as 30% by comparing my properties with similar properties and showing how unfair my assessments were. Once, the square footage of my property was listed as 25% more than it actually was. I often thought of starting a consulting business to help people argue their assessments down. I have property in Southern Ontario which was assessed at double its value. I was able to research other vacant land and successfully argued to have it reduced by half. What is sad, is that most people don’t know how to argue with MPAC reps. Even worse, some believe that the value MPAC puts on there property actually reflects the market value and rejoice particularly if they intend to sell soon. They list it at the value only to find they can’t sell it for such a high value. Meanwhile they are paying higher taxes than they should.