Existing ag support largely maintained in provincial budget
Keystone Agricultural Producers says Tuesday’s budget is good for agriculture but it is disappointed that no move has been made to reform the school tax system.
“We are pleased the government has put an additional $5 million into the farmland school tax rebate because that will offset increased land values,” said KAP president Dan Mazier. “However, because of these high land values, more farmers will be reaching the program's $5,000 cap.
“We continue to call not just for a removal of the cap, but for a complete overhaul of the way education tax is funded in the province, so a disproportionate amount of school taxes does not continue to fall on farmers. In these times of fiscal restraint, government can't continue to use a band-aid approach on the problem – it must be fixed once and for all.”
Mazier was quick to point out, however, that there is good news in the budget.
“It does not chip away at the agriculture industry’s foundation,” he said. “And in fact, the new livestock initiative, the additional resources for weather and data forecasting, and the investment in the Manitoba Grain Innovation Hub are all designed to help agriculture grow.”
Mazier noted that Finance Minister Friesen recognized the importance of the industry in the budget speech and illustrated this with no cuts or additional taxes.
“The tax that comes to mind is the one on purple gas in Saskatchewan, which we know farmers in Manitoba would find completely unacceptable.”
Mazier said that the province’s plan for a carbon tax is not included in the budget, so it appears it will be left for next year.
“KAP is calling for the necessary measures to keep farmers competitive, and I sincerely hope the province will address this as it works on the plan. As well, I urge the government to do more consulting with Manitobans, and in particular, Manitoba farmers.”
For more information
Dan Mazier, president – 204-720-4646
Val Ominski – communications – 204-697-1140