APAS rejects proposed tax distribution change

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) says they are calling on the province to reject proposals by the Saskatchewan Growth Coalition which is calling for lower rural municipal tax rates for resource and processing industries.

Scott Owens, APAS board member and farmer at Maidstone, Sask., says that the proposal would decrease the amount of taxes paid in 295 rural municipalities by commercial groups, such as the mining, oil and gas, or construction sectors.

“In rural Saskatchewan there’s basically two parties that pay property taxes, the commercial interests and farmers,” says Owens.

For APAS, the Saskatchewan Growth Coalition’s proposal means that commercial groups would pay less, and farmers would pay more.

“We believe everyone needs to pay their fair share, but they just make a blanket statement that across the whole province, farmers need to pay more property taxes, we’re not going to get on board with that,” says Owens, giving the example that roads in his municipality that are more heavily used by the oil and gas industry, are used far less by farmers, and that the taxes for those roads need to be commensurate with impact.

Owens says that in light of the drought and increasing land prices, the tax distribution change proposal is “tone-deaf.”

APAS is asking its members to reach out to their respective MLAs to let government know that they’re not willing to go down this road.

Listen to the full conversation with Owens and RealAg Radio’s Shaun Haney, below: