Fiscal Policy Trends: Giving Cities and Municipal Taxpayers a Break During Covid - A "How-To" Guide


  • Almos Tassonyi


So far, the response to the current pandemic and the economic consequences from the Provinces have been silent on creative responses to cash-flow issues faced by payers of property tax and by implication, municipalities. Certainly, recent literature has emphasized the “wealth” of municipalities, deficiencies in their accountability to ratepayers, the relatively high effective burden of business taxes and unused capacity of the property tax. (Robson et al, Kitchen and Tassonyi, Tassonyi, Bird and Slack, Dahlby and McMillan) While there is truth in these studies, these should not preclude serious consideration of loosening (within reason) some of the constraints in the local taxation system that municipalities face. These rules were designed to ensure that the system worked to provide revenue on a timely basis. However, the design did not contemplate the level of the pressing plight faced by their businesses and residents.