(May 17, 2012) – After eight years of forced subsidized property taxes for the Imperial Oil refinery in Dartmouth, HRM’s efforts have not helped prevent the company from deciding to sell the facility Mayor Peter Kelly said today.
“We weren’t happy with the changes to provincial legislation in 2004 and we certainly haven’t enjoyed the $29 million in lost tax revenue since,” said Mayor Kelly. “From the outset, we believed that making a deal with one taxpayer at the expense of other taxpayers was sending the wrong message to our Council and the people of HRM—that we can’t determine our own tax regime.”
Mayor Kelly said that while the annual amount of the subsidy has been declining from $4 million in 2004 to $2 million in 2012, HRM still stands to lose some $17.5 million should the current agreement continue through the five-year term to 2017.
“The province’s approach in 2004 showed a lack of understanding of the need to work with HRM to ensure such decisions truly have a long-term benefit and are not simply to provide incentives the province’s own revenue can’t support,” said Mayor Kelly. “HRM residents and businesses have the single largest impact on the provincial economy, and we should not have been expected to carry a financial burden for a multi-billion dollar company.”
Other considerations for the future state of the refinery will be potential environmental remediation, the risk of increased heating and transportation fuel costs for HRM buildings and vehicles, and, of course, the impact to the refinery’s employees, said Mayor Kelly.
“While we understand that the petroleum industry competes in a global economy, local concessions can’t really tilt the economic balance for a company that deals with billions of dollars in capital, operating expenditures and that creates billions of dollars in profits.”