New Democrats are calling for amendments to a bill before the Manitoba legislature that would enable property owners to receive big rebates on their education taxes, beginning this year.
NDP house leader Nahanni Fontaine said her party would like to see income tests applied, restricting those who would receive the 25 per cent rebate. As the legislation stands, all would receive it.
She said the NDP is seeking a better deal for renters under Bill 71. The government would freeze rent for two years beginning in 2022, but phase out an income tax deduction for renters.
The government announced the property tax rebate in its budget earlier this month.
Fontaine said the bill was introduced too late, under house rules, to be guaranteed passage before the legislature breaks for the summer. So, the government needs the Opposition's co-operation to get it passed.
The government has said the rebates cannot be paid out until the enabling bill is approved by the legislative assembly.
"It is a big bill. It does a lot of things that, I think, we haven’t had enough time to review and contemplate," Fontaine said.
However, she said her party is "flexible" about the proposed legislation.
"We’re willing to sit down with the government and look at how we can strengthen Bill 71 and how we can work together on its passage," she said.
"I believe that we can do better on behalf of all Manitobans, not just the ones who have the most money."
Earlier, Finance Minister Scott Fielding said the government is always open to improving bills, but that he had not yet seen any proposed amendments from the NDP.
He called the education tax rebate a "strong commitment" on the government's part in reducing taxes.
The minister estimates the average Winnipeg homeowner would receive a rebate of $481 this year, if the bill passes.
The government plans to rebate up to 50 per cent of home and farmland education property taxes by the second year of the initiative.
Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.