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This article was published 21/4/2011 (3806 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
WINNIPEG -- Only four Manitoba cottage owners have signed up for the Selinger government’s cottage tax increase deferral program to help cottagers deal with rising municipal and school taxes.
The number was released in Question Period on Wednesday by Progressive Conservative Finance Critic Heather Stefanson after the Tories submitted a freedom of information request to the province.
Stefanson said seven applications were made to the province in 2010-11 for the deferral, but only four were accepted. One was withdrawn and two were rejected because the properties were not cottages. No applications have been received in 2011.
Stefanson said the popularity of the deferral program should be obvious when it’s estimated there are about 14,000 cottages in the province.
She said seven applications represents 0.05 per cent of eligible properties. The four approved applications represent a success rate of 0.03 per cent for the program.
"With success like that, who need failure?" Stefanson said in the house.
The government introduced the cottage tax increase deferral program a year ago in response to the rising municipal and school tax load put on seasonal cottagers. Many cottage properties that had increased sharply in value under the last province-wide property reassessment now pay a greater share of local school division taxes than permanent residents in the same division.
Under the deferral program, the provincial government will pay the increase in taxes on behalf of the cottager to the municipality. The cottager then pays the government back at a nominal interest rate. The amount owing is payable to the government upon the sale of the property, the death of the owner, when eligibility conditions are no longer met or at any time chosen by the owner.
Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk defended the deferral program, saying it’s a viable option for cottagers dealing with steep tax increases.
"As we move forward more people may apply and more may take advantage of it," Wowchuk said.