The school tax rebate system has not kept pace with the needs of our community. Something has got to change.
• We would instead argue that the entire tax system in Manitoba should be reviewed to determine whether it has kept pace with the needs of our community, including portioned assessment and provincial assessment of property values. School tax is one of the smallest parts of the picture when compared to the bigger picture of taxation in Manitoba. • In an ideal world, the Province could permanently redirect the existing investment that it makes in providing some or all of the current system of tax credits and rebates to proportionately reduce overall taxation through a form of permanent and substantial tax relief. Based on current levels of Provincial investment in the credit and rebate programs, this would translate into a substantial reduction to the local school tax portion, reducing overall reliance on local school tax to fund education.
There are so many people who do not even have children in school in our community. They should not have to pay school taxes.
• Everyone has a share in education. Costs related to local crime prevention, healthcare, family services and even library services, all depend upon how educated our community is. Sustaining the delivery of such services also depends on an educated workforce and the contributions that these educated workers provide. • High school graduates have better education, health, social and career-related prospects than those who do not graduate. The more educated the citizens we have, the less costs there are for communities as a whole. • In Manitoba, all senior citizens receive a tax rebate by virtue of their age, in recognition that this group is most likely not to have children in public school and many are retired, meaning that their income is more limited.
We should just do away with school property tax and find some other form of revenue to support schools, like income tax. Why are school taxes based on property anyway?
• The decision to collect revenue based on property was made owing to the historical reality, which still exists today, that the outcomes of the local public school were of benefit to everyone. • A shift from property to income tax for example, would be the same as shifting municipal property tax to income-based collection. When the final numbers are in, there is just not enough revenue to invest without taking away substantial programs and services from our kids. • School property tax revenue currently accounts for approximately 40 percent of total education operating. To replace this amount with another revenue source is a considerable challenge. • School spaces, playgrounds, sports fields and other facilities can and often are used by communities for events and activities that are not school-related, especially during summer months when school is not in session. Education in our community benefits the entire community.
Manitoba is the last province in Canada where property tax is collected for schools. We should become more like the other provinces.
• Across Canada, every province collects property tax to fund education. This results in overall tax contributions from citizens that range from province to province, but still reflects revenue-generation that is comparable to what we have right here in Manitoba. • Manitoba is last province however, where accountability and oversight for our community’s education property taxes are owned at the local level, with all tax dollars collected kept in communities. In other provinces, property taxes for education are directly deposited into the government’s own bank account. • Eliminating school divisions or centralizing funding does not mean any less school tax on properties.
There are simply too many school boards in Manitoba. We should just amalgamate some of them.
• Less is not more when it comes to providing programs, services and supports for the sake of our children. • Bigger is not better. Eliminating some school divisions means creating larger school divisions out of the rest, making it more difficult and even more costly to provide programs, services and supports. • Decisions would be removed from local communities. • Dollars would be spent to save pennies. In 2001-02, twenty school divisions were eliminated. In 2005, an independent study written by the frontier institute for public policy found that eliminating 20 school divisions resulted in virtually no savings. In the end, the only real impact was to remove ownership of public schools from local neighbourhoods and small town communities. • Our communities want to keep their local school boards. According to a recent poll conducted by Probe Research (September 2018), 70% of rural Manitobans indicated that keeping local community school boards was their first choice. • Only 8% wanted to abolish school boards altogether.