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Legislative Report (19 April 2006)

Legislative Report

19 April 2006

NDP Falter on Rural Property Taxes

The amount of your money the NDP is spending on advertising for this year’s provincial budget is ten times higher than what was spent last year. However none of the print, radio or new television advertising done for this year’s budget will tell you this one important fact: the NDP budget contains hidden property tax increases.

Last week, administrators in charge of newly amalgamated school divisions began making an alarming discovery. When the operating grants from the province for new school divisions were compared to the combined grants for school boards prior to amalgamation, there were significant shortfalls.

For example, the Chinook School Division near Swift Current received roughly $5.9 million to cover 6300 students and 63 public schools. When you compare this number to what the eight former school divisions used to receive in the south-west, that represents a loss of over $3 million.

Another example is the new South East Cornerstone School Division in Weyburn, which will see its grant from the province drop by just under 57 per cent. That means the province will be paying for only six per cent of the total cost of education in the Weyburn area.

The consequences of this are obvious. If the province is paying less, local property tax payers will have to make up the difference. In the case of Weyburn, local school board officials are saying that a 50 per cent mill rate increase is a possibility.

Like everything else, the cost of educating our young people is rising. The fundamental questions is: what can the province do to help offset those rising costs? The answer from the NDP is simple: nothing. Local boards are being forced to fend for themselves.

Lorne Calvert has repeatedly promised to keep rural property taxes low. This is yet another example of the NDP saying one thing and doing another.

If you have a question about this report or any other matter, just Contact Glen.

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