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City taxes up 66.5% since 2001, overall increase of 36%

Though each tax increase in a given year might seem small, year over year tax increases have been significant – a whopping 66.5% on the city portion of taxes since 2001 (see chart below), for an overall increase of 36% when blended with regional and education taxes.

Tax increases since 2001 - City 66.5%, overall 35% (when blended with regional/education taxes)
Tax increases since 2001 – City 66.5%, overall 35% (when blended with regional/education taxes)

My Take: Ultimately, the size of the tax increase, the amount of nice-to-haves, the draws on reserves and small amount of efficiencies, led me to vote against this budget. The majority – 87% – of this year’s requests were approved, either as additions to the base budget or draws on reserves. We need to be more disciplined about saying no and focusing on need to haves, especially in light of the current economic climate.

Growth is at 1% (according to the Bank of Canada), many of our residents are on fixed incomes, and others have had either no wage increases or nominal ones. According to Statistics Canada data for Ontario, average weekly earnings increased 2% from Jan 2012 to Dec 2012.

Some residents are at the tipping point of what they can continue to pay, especially our seniors on fixed incomes who get no additional income increase in this same period. Property taxes don’t fluctuate based on ability to pay, so a 4.46% increase in this climate, on top of 35% historic tax increases, is a strain for many of our residents.

Your take: Leave a comment below or email your thoughts to me at

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.

The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful.

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