News release

Province Amends Bill 129

The Nova Scotia government is amending a bill currently before the legislature that will ensure the province's right to assess certain industrial properties for municipal taxation purposes.

Bill 129, An Amendment to the Assessment Act and Municipal Grants Act, was introduced on May 2. The bill sought to formalize the province's long-standing definition of structures and what constitutes a shelter for business occupancy assessment. This became necessary after Sable Offshore Energy Inc.(SOEI) challenged the province's right to assess shelters and structures at the company's gas and fractionation plants in Nova Scotia.

"Many industrial property owners expressed concerns that this bill could lead to eliminating the phase out of the tax on machinery and equipment. That was never the intention of this bill," said Angus MacIsaac, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

The bill has been amended to specify that it does not impact the phase out of the machinery and equipment tax. It also specifies that gas and fractionation plants are assessable.

"We want the world to know that Nova Scotia is open for business. This amendment responds to industry concerns, while achieving the intention of the original bill," said Mr. MacIsaac.

The Nova Scotia government assesses commercial and residential property for municipalities, who use this information to set their tax rates. SOEI has appealed its assessment for each year since 1999 by challenging the province's right to assess the company's property in Guysborough and Richmond counties, placing millions of dollars in tax revenue to those municipalities at stake.

The amendment also makes the bill effective April 1, 2002, rather than being retroactive to 2000.

"Every property owner in Nova Scotia must pay their fair share of tax to help pay for the municipal services they receive," said Mr. MacIsaac. "We hope we can reach an agreement with SOEI partners on their fair share of property taxes so we can avoid a long and costly legal fight."

FOR BROADCAST USE:

The Nova Scotia government is amending legislation which will ensure the province's right to assess certain industrial properties for municipal taxation purposes.

The bill, currently before the legislature, sought to formalize the province's long-standing definition of structures and what constitutes a shelter for business occupancy assessment.

Some industrial property owners expressed concern that the legislation could lead to the elimination of the phase out of the machinery and equipment tax.

Angus MacIsaac, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, says that was never the intention of the bill and its wording has been changed to respond to those concerns.

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Contact:

David MacNeil
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations 902-424-6336 E-mail: