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Greens pledge to eliminate education property tax

BORIS MINKEVICH / FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Green Party leader James Beddome </p>

BORIS MINKEVICH / FREE PRESS FILES

Green Party leader James Beddome

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/3/2016 (1426 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Green Party of Manitoba would scrap the education property tax and shift that money to a progressive income tax system if elected April 19.

"The current system for funding education creates severe inequities, both for students and for property taxpayers," Green Leader James Beddome said in a news release Wednesday. "Greens would bring greater fairness to both the tax system and the education system by funding education from personal and corporate tax revenues."

Beddome said Manitoba is the only province in Canada in which school boards have the power to tax locally to meet divisional budgets, with local education taxes making up approximately one-third of the operating budget for public schooling.

"Inequities are unavoidable because of the different revenue capacities of school divisions, which in turn affects what each division can afford to spend," said Beddome. "The end result is an inequitable tax system and one in which some school divisions are underfunded and students are short-changed."

Beddome said the Green proposal would equalize the funding that is made available to divisions for each student, creating a better provincial education system.

"Most homeowners will be better off," Beddome said. "Lower-income homeowners living in modestly priced homes may see an increase in costs but our proposed guaranteed annual income (plan) will more than offset those tax increases. Small businesses would see no tax change and large corporations would take on a greater responsibility for funding education."

There is currently a wide range in per-student funding throughout Manitoba public schools; even within each division, much more is spent per student in high school than in elementary school.

The province provides grants based on the number of students within a division but then there are numerous specific grants which affect overall per-student funding, such as grants for busing or special needs or language programs. Trustees decide how much revenue they will raise through property taxes, thereby further affecting how much is spent per student.

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History

Updated on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at 12:09 PM CDT: Cutline fixed.

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