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Education Tax Needs More Attention

Election promises are falling short of expectations for those who want school taxes removed from farmland and farm production buildings, according to the Manitoba Education Financing Coalition (MEFC).

MEFC launched its letspayfair.com campaign in early

September, urging candidates in the October 4 provincial election to move to a system where education is not funded through property taxes and handed out signs reading, I want school tax off my property.

We re thankful that the issue has been included in debate so far, but we re not seeing anyone really take it full circle, said Doug Chorney, president of Keystone Agricultural Producers.

To date, the NDP has promised to remove 100 per cent of school taxes from farmland, but has not addressed the issue of farm production buildings.

That is a win for us, but there is still a long way to go, said Chorney.

The Progressive Conservatives have offered an education tax break to cottage owners, but not to farmers.

To be honest, it s kind of disappointing, said Chorney.

Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen said mismanagement of finances by the current government means the removal of education taxes from farmland and farm production buildings will wait until finances have been stabilized.

It s a goal, but it s not part of our platform promises, said McFadyen.

During the KAP radio debate Liberal candidate Monica Guetre said the Liberals would be willing to move towards 100 per cent government funding for education if elected, but did not provide a timeline.

Chorney noted there is currently an 80 per cent rebate on school tax for farmland in place, but it doesn t affect production buildings like those used by the beef, pork and chicken producers.

Chorney also added, funding for the current rebate comes from Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives, not from Manitoba Finance or general revenues, meaning less funding for other programs that support Manitoba farmers.

MEFC suggests the current tax-funded education system be replaced with one funded by general revenue.

We noticed… that the NDP promised, if back in office, they would give seniors and farmers some relief. Earlier the Tories offered cottage owners a similar break. The smart party is the one that stops nibbling at the corners of this issue and instead makes a serious effort to fund education properly through general revenues not property taxes, said coalition president Lorne Weiss in a press release. [email protected]

———

We rethankfulthat theissuehasbeen includedindebate

sofar,butwe renot seeinganyonereally

takeitfullcircle.

doug chorney

About the author

Reporter

Shannon VanRaes is a journalist and photojournalist at the Manitoba Co-operator. She also writes a weekly urban affairs column for Metro Winnipeg, and has previously reported for the Winnipeg Sun, Outwords Magazine and the Portage Daily Graphic.

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