City taxpayers

In the wake of learning that property taxes are set to jump for some people in Hamilton, it’s worth noting that both McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences pay zero property taxes. When it comes to Hamilton’s half a billion dollars in property tax revenue last year, they have mostly homeowners to thank.

“It used to be 60% residential, 40% commercial, now we’re at 90-10.” Mayor Fred Eisenberger.

With Hamilton evolving from an industrial to a health and education city one would think those properties must bring in a lot in property taxes. They don’t. Instead, the province pays the city payments in lieu. For hospitals, that covers beds in service, but not the many research facilities across the city. The same goes for university buildings where no classes take place.

“McMaster Innovation park on the former Camco site is really a research centre, there really are no students getting education therefore the city is not getting any payment from them.” Marvin Ryder, Degroote School of Business.

Another challenge, the rate the payment is calculated hasn’t been changed in 25 years. Marvin Ryder says now might be the best time to ask for more.

The city sent us a form saying that they’re owed over $22 million in unpaid property taxes by three large industrial companies. National Steel Car, Max Aicher and U.S. Steel are currently in arrears. U.S. Steel won a court exemption from property taxes while in bankruptcy protection, it’s still up in the air whether a new buyer would be on the hook for those unpaid taxes.


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