Summary of the Impact
that High Taxes have had on Owen Sound
There are clear unintended consequences when a municipality raises taxes higher than its surrounding municipalities. Remember, a municipality is in the business of delivering services to its residents. If people can buy those services from another supplier they will. We are all on the lookout for the best deal available.
The facts are indisputable. Owen Sound is one of the highest taxed municipalities in Ontario and Owen Sound wages are among the lowest in Ontario. The combination of these statistics is that Owen Sound wage earners, who are home owners, are paying a much larger portion of their wages to pay for their property taxes. Renters are not immune from high taxes. Landlords routinely pass on tax increases to their tenants which puts extreme upward pressure on rents.
It’s also indisputable that the number of wage earners in Owen Sound is shrinking according to Statistics Canada. There is strong evidence that Owen Sound residents are moving across the borders to adjacent communities where they can “have their cake and eat it to”. They don’t lose access to the many amenities that Owen Sound offers it residents. They just avoid the high taxes.
There is another dimension to the migration problem that is; business migration. Statistics Canada does not provide any data on business migration. However I do recall some businesses moving to Georgian Bluffs. The most notable of these is McDonald’s Flower Cart that had been located in the 100 block of 10th Street East. It moved to a newly constructed building in Georgian Bluffs a few years ago. Could the move be related to our high taxes or a rent increase due to taxes? Either way we lost this business to Georgian Bluffs. If you ever wondered why stores like Staples chose to set up shop in Georgian Bluffs that has a population of only 11,000 and avoided Owen Sound with a population of twice that, you may have just learned the answer.