Provincial grants in place of taxes down 40% since 2019, says Town

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By Masha Scheele, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Canadian governments under fiscal pressures have a history of downloading their costs and responsibilities onto lower levels of government and Hinton is not immune to this.
Hinton saw the Grants in Place of Taxes (GIPOT) fall nearly 40 per cent from 2019 levels, a direct tax impact of more than $35,000 or 0.3 per cent of taxes, according to Hinton’s communication coordinator.
“[By next year], the total revenue lost by the Town from Grants in Lieu is 50 per cent or $32,655.42 no further communication has come out for future losses,” said Carlos Tenias Gil, Hinton’s communications coordinator, on behalf of the Town in response to questions from The Voice.
“Understanding that the province of Alberta has its own fiscal pressures, it’s disappointing to see these cuts trickle down to municipalities,” said Mayor Marcel Michaels.
After a 50 per cent cut in funding over the past two years, GIPOT was forecasted to remain at $30 million per year for the next three years, according to the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA). The past reductions disproportionately impacted communities with provincially owned properties that are exempt from property tax.
The GIPOT program is being reduced by 32 per cent in 2020-21 on top of the 24 per cent reduction in 2019, stated the Town of Hinton.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs clarified that no additional decreases are expected to GIPOT. The 2021/22 program budget is $30 million; future years targets 2022/23 and 2023/24 are also $30 million.
“Residents and businesses already face huge challenges when it comes to property taxes, fees, and other costs. Cuts such as these add extra pressure on the municipality to either find new money, increase taxes, or cut services,” Michaels said.
Michaels will continue to lobby the provincial governments to look at creative ways of securing new money and avoiding the downloading of costs to municipalities.
The loss of Grants in Lieu revenue, like any revenue loss, is ultimately recovered through property taxation at large, stated the Town’s communication coordinator. All revenue recovery is seen in tax increases or...continued.

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