Sask. premier hints at hike in education property tax

Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall is contemplating rebalancing the way education is funded in the province.

The education property tax is one of the plethora of programs under review as the province comes to grips with a $700 million reduction in oil revenues.

“Everything has to be on the table as we work towards a balanced budget for the province of Saskatchewan,” Wall told delegates attending the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities’ 2015 annual convention.


Prior to the Saskatchewan Party taking office in 2007, taxpayers were paying 60 percent of education costs, with the province picking up the remaining 40 percent.

That was flip-flopped in 2010 as the government introduced the largest education property tax reduction in the province’s history. There was also a 75 to 80 percent reduction in property taxes on farmland.

Five years later, education costs have escalated due to more teachers, higher salaries and new schools.

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The higher costs have changed the ratio, with the province now paying two-thirds of the bill and taxpayers picking up the remaining one-third.

Wall said the province would never revert back to the days when taxpayers were picking up 60 percent of the tab, but it might be time to consider getting back to the 2010 ratio where they were paying 40 percent.

“That’s one of the options that we’re looking at in a tough budget,” he later told reporters.

That doesn’t sit well with SARM acting-president Ray Orb.

“We’re not going back on education tax,” he said.

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“There’s no discussion on education tax.”


Orb said education property tax reform was such a long process and such a politically sensitive issue that he doubts the province will tinker with the formula.

“I’m quite confident they won’t touch the property tax on education,” he said.

Contact sean.pratt@producer.com

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  • Rewind

    As an agriculture land holder land taxes weigh heavily on us as a business cost. However this is a perfect time to re-balance education funding and manage the scourge of non resident ag-land ownership in one action. We have also the need to discuss and adjust the severe loss of property tax revenue by the rationalization of grain elevators. Consider each lost elevator was many tens of thousand of dollars lost annually. That has been a big savings to multi-national grain shareholders and consequently Railroad share price.
    The savings to us as land holders has been unequally carried as opportunity lost for all our children but a considerable cost to our aboriginal children as the province has been unable to offset the punitive reduction in federal under-funding.
    Again increases can be adjusted to reduce the severity of re-balance with resident home ownership grants. It may be the perfect time for the “Saskatchewan Party” to live up to their brand.