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This article was published 24/6/2010 (2609 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
WE don't need no education, is what some Manitoba cottage owners are saying after this year's tax bill landed in their mail boxes.
They knew the property reassessment were going to hit them hard but it's the ballooning education tax portion of the bill that's shocking cottage country.
"It's something that you always choke on," said Dave Finnbogason who owns a cottage at Victoria Beach
Finnbogason said he understands paying some education tax but not at the amounts he's starting to see.
"I don't mind if my property taxes go up because that's expected," said Finnbogason. "But to pay so much in education taxes just seems bizarre."
Another cottage owner who has been going to Victoria Beach for 10 years agreed the hit from education taxes has gotten "outrageous."
"If, as a cottage owner, I don't have the right to vote how the money is being used, then why should I pay?" she said.
A third cottage owner said $2,446 of her $3,886 tax bill was for education tax, totalling 63 per cent of the final tally.
"I know some people who have had to put their cottages up for sale," said David Crabb of the Manitoba Association of Cottage Owners (MACO). "I think everyone agrees they should pay some education tax, but not over 60 per cent of their total tax bill."
The education tax increase is not based on escalating school budgets, rather it represents a shift in how school divisions set their budgets. Simply put, seasonal cottage areas that increased sharply in value under reassessment will pay a greater share of local school division taxes as opposed to other areas in the same division that did not increase as much or at all.
Melodie Ateah is the owner of Ateah Realty and lives at Victoria Beach year round. Ateah said her property taxes did not go up this year, but said she has encountered many cottage owners who are feeling the tax crunch.
"It's just becoming more and more difficult for people to maintain a cottage," said Ateah. "These are people that have had their cottage passed down through family. They are by no means rich."
Ateah noted that RM property taxes are fair, it is the large portion of the bill that goes to education tax that has riled owners up.
Crabb said the government has tried to assuage the problem by introducing a cottage tax deferral program, but said that many owners aren't taking the bait. "This does not solve the problem," said Crabb. "It just costs people more later."