Mayoral candidate Gord Steeves is promising Winnipeg a four-year property-tax freeze, claiming the revenue that would be raised by a tax hike wouldn’t be worth the detrimental effect on home owners.
The lawyer and former St. Vital councillor pledged Wednesday to forgo property-tax hikes for an entire four-year council term if he’s elected mayor on Oct. 22.
Steeves said the millions raised from a hike would barely begin to tackle the city’s infrastructure deficit or mounting costs for fuel and emergency services.
He claimed he would raise revenue to pay for operating and capital costs by selling off city assets — and claimed this plan will not result in service cuts or layoffs.
Steeves also claimed in a campaign placard that rival mayoral candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis would bankrupt homeowners through her pledge to limit property-tax hikes to the combined aggregate of the rate of inflation and the city’s population growth.
This move harkened back to a 2010 Sam Katz radio ad that warned Winnipeggers could lose their homes if Wasylycia-Leis was elected.
Steeves denied his placard was alarmist. He said he believes Winnipeggers are among the highest-taxed people in Canada, even though he agreed the municipal component of their taxes is low.
Steeves did not target fellow Conservative-affiliated candidates Brian Bowman and Paula Havixbeck. Steeves joked he hoped they are not offended and denied he is trying to separate himself from the mayoral field by announcing the most right-wing policies.
Steeves also said he has no plans to make his list of campaign donors public, as Bowman and Havixbeck have pledged.