+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 23-00F

Education Property Tax

January 1, 2000
Expiry Date:
December 1, 2003
Active Status:
Vote Results:
Carried as amended

WHEREAS municipalities in Alberta rely on the property tax base as their primary source of revenue to finance the provision of municipal services to ratepayers;AND WHEREAS the ability of municipalities to access property tax dollars is currently constrained by the provincial governments reliance on the property tax base to provide a significant portion of funding for the public education system;AND WHEREAS the Government of Alberta has numerous other potential revenue sources from which to generate the revenues necessary to fund education and other services for which the provincial government is responsible;AND WHEREAS the continued reliance on property taxation to fund public education services not only restricts the financial flexibility of municipal governments, but also creates significant inequities in the amount of financial burden placed on individual ratepayers;AND WHEREAS the AAMDC Board of Directors appointed a Member Advisory Committee on Education Property Tax for the specific purpose of reviewing the issues associated with education property taxation and providing recommendations for addressing these issues;AND WHEREAS the AAMDC Advisory Committee on Education Property Tax has completed its investigation of these issues, and has provided a thorough report and recommendations for the consideration of the AAMDC membership;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC formally adopt the Report of the AAMDC Advisory Committee on Education Property Tax, and utilize the recommendations and strategies identified within that report as the Associations basis for continued efforts to gain provincial support for the elimination of education property tax from agricultural and residential properties;AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that AAMDC members be encouraged to individually adopt the Recommended Position Statement proposed by the Advisory Committee, and utilize the Position Statement in their own efforts to obtain the support of local MLAs and the general public for the elimination of education property tax from agricultural land and residential properties.

Member Background:

Alberta Association of Municipal Districts & CountiesAdvisory Committee on Education Property TaxDraft Report, September 2000 IntroductionThe property tax base has traditionally provided a reliable source of revenue for Alberta school boards, directly at first and via the Government of Alberta since 1994. In recent decades, however, the fairness of utilizing property tax revenue to fund education services has increasingly come into question, particularly by local municipal governments. This debate has substantially increased in intensity since 1994, when the Government of Alberta assumed control over education property taxes and implemented a uniform provincial education tax rate.Municipal governments are steadily losing their flexibility to establish municipal tax rates as the portion of local property tax revenues being absorbed by the education system continues to grow. Ratepayers insist that municipal tax rates remain constant, or even decline, in order to avoid any increases in the overall property tax burden.Meanwhile, ratepayers in communities with higher than average growth rates express increasing unrest as complications arising from the interplay of market value assessment and the uniform provincial education tax rate come to light. Fingers are increasingly pointed outwards, to communities with lower growth rates, as being somehow responsible for this situation, and therefore responsible for funding any solution to the problem. The Government of Albertas recent capping of equalized assessment for education funding purposes is an attempt to address the concerns of high-growth communities, but this solution has also served to create increased tensions between municipalities.Similar frustrations are being echoed by property taxpayers across Canada, as the very philosophy of funding education via property tax revenue comes increasingly under attack.The AAMD&C membership expressed their collective opinion on this matter at the 1999 Fall Convention, when they endorsed Resolution 11-99F (see Appendix Three). This resolution calls for the phase-out of education property tax on residential and agricultural properties, as the primary means of tax relief granted by the Government of Alberta to its citizens.At the Spring 2000 Convention, AAMD&C members endorsed Resolution ER4-00S (see Appendix Four), directing that a member advisory committee be established, to provide the Association with advice on how to achieve the goals set out in Resolution 11-99F. The committee was established in May of 2000, and held four meetings between June and September 2000 (see Appendix Five for a listing of Committee members). This report is the culmination of the efforts of that committee.

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