Education Tax on Agriculture Land

Res #: 8-05A
Number: 8
Year: 2005
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Government Relations

Resolution No. 8-05A

WHEREAS, education tax has for many years been steadily increasing on agricultural land; and

WHEREAS, businesses providing supplies and services to producers pass on their operating costs to their customers so as to maintain a profit margin, thus forcing producers to pay a compounded education tax; and

WHEREAS, producers are forced to accept prices offered to them for their commodities, and pay whatever suppliers and service providers charge for their products, thereby often leaving a negative margin for producers; and

WHEREAS, SARM delegates have urged this unfair tax be corrected by the Provincial Government; and

WHEREAS, SARM has lobbied for tax relief without adequate success; and

WHEREAS, the emergency education tax meeting and the resolution to delay tax incentives until December 2004, and the rally at the Legislative Building by the RM delegates and producers on June 10, 2004 has not resulted in a meaningful reduction of education tax on agriculture land; and

WHEREAS, Premier Calvert stated openly at the March 2004 SARM Convention that the education tax on agriculture land is unfair and needs correction; and

WHEREAS, the proposed $110 million tax relief promised by Premier Calvert for 2005 – 2006 will not cover the education tax increase in many RMs due in part to amalgamation of school divisions and differences in mill rates as well as any new increases in 2005; and WHEREAS, school divisions set the mill rate to be levied on agriculture land;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the delegates at the 2005 Annual SARM Convention make a dedicated effort to develop a plan to reduce education tax on agriculture land beginning with the 2005 taxation year and that this plan be adopted by all RMs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a plan of action be developed for all RMs if the school boards attempt to levy more than 50% of the RM mill rate on agriculture land; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Premier and Cabinet be lobbied to support the RMs’ position.

Response from Honourable Len Taylor, Minister of Government Relations:

The province will provide 30% of the new one-time federal equalization money for education property tax relief. This relief amounts to $110 million and will be distributed through a property tax relief credit to all ratepayers for the 2005 and 2006 taxation years. The Departments of Learning and Government Relations have been involved in an Education Property Tax Relief Working Group to examine possible long-term solutions for funding K-12 education. Local government organizations, such as SARM, formed a part of the working group. The report of this working group has been posted on the Government Relations website since November 2004. The government is committed to continue to try and find a long-term, sustainable solution. This will be examined in upcoming budgets and when the equalization issue between the federal government and provincial governments is resolved.