The current system unfairly puts too much of a burden on owners of large lots, especially farmers, as well as seniors, said Manitoba Real Estate Association President Lorne Weiss.
“All we’re asking is that the government fund education more fairly,” Weiss said a press conference last week. He noted school taxes represent 54% of all property taxes collected on homes and businesses in Winnipeg.
Weiss said the government should instead commit to a short-term goal of dropping the percentage of school funds from property taxes to 20%, and eventually getting 100% of education money from general revenues and the Manitoba Hydro reserves.
The timing of the remarks comes just a month away from the provincial elections.
“If the candidates think that the small changes we’ve seen in education tax since the last election answer the call from Manitobans to pay fairly, they are wrong,” said Doug Chorney, president of the Keystone Agricultural Producers, which has joined the effort.
Winnipeg Realtors President Ralph Frye said that while the city has frozen property taxes for several years, local schools have at the same time raised their portion of property taxes, cancelling out any savings for homeowners.
The Manitoba Education Financing Coalition, the group opposed to the tax, said eliminating education funding from property taxes means a savings of about $1,150 annual for a homeowner in Winnipeg School Division No. 1, based on an average home price of $250,000.
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