I’ll be getting a tax break in a few years and I’m not happy about it.
Manitoba’s finance minister Jennifer Howard announced on May 2, that homeowners over age 65 can start applying this month for the new Seniors’ School Tax Rebate. This is the first step in the government’s plan to eliminate school taxes for seniors by 2016. I think it’s wrong.
It is in the best interest of everyone, including senior citizens, to have a good education system in our province. Schools train the people who will serve us in the future, the health care workers, lawyers, business people, chefs, hairdressers, dentists and those who maintain our electricity, plumbing and technology. I intend to use all those services even after I’m 65, and I want well-educated and well- trained people to be providing them. I’m happy to pay school taxes to insure that happens.
The school system serves the next generation and I want my future grandchildren to have an opportunity for a well- rounded education. Often when school funding cuts are implemented things like music programs, sports teams, art classes and librarians are the first to go. I wouldn’t want to see that happen. I am happy to pay school taxes if it means the children of future generations of my family will have access to a rich and diverse educational experience.
Offering educational opportunities for at-risk youth helps reduce crime and violence in society. Kids who are in school aren’t out on the streets unsupervised and susceptible to getting involved in gang activity. A recent study in Michigan shows that preschoolers from low- income neighborhoods who have access to early childhood education are two times less likely to be involved in criminal activity when they are teens and adults. Senior citizens, who are sometimes more vulnerable as they age, have good reason to help in the effort to lower crime rates and make our province a more peaceful place to live. I’m happy to pay school taxes knowing education reduces delinquency and increases public safety.
People with a good education have a better chance of getting a job. Although seniors are receiving a rebate on school taxes they are still paying to support unemployment programs and welfare recipients. It is in a senior’s best interest to have as many people in our province working as possible. After all it is the contributions of current employees to pension funds which helps pay retired worker’s pensions. I’m happy to supply tax dollars for the education of young people so they will get jobs and be able to continue contributing to my pension.
Schools play a big role in teaching children values and ethics. Many offer anti-bullying programs and emphasize serving others by sponsoring projects that encourage students to reach out to those in need. Schools teach children how to eat healthy food, care for the environment, develop civic responsibility, and make them aware of safety issues and the consequences of smoking and drug use. I am happy to pay school taxes knowing that schools play a role in creating adults who are caring, fair, health conscious and responsible. I want to spend the last decades of my life living in a community with those kinds of citizens.
It is a few years yet before I reach 65 so I still have time to think about it, but I have a feeling when my first school tax rebate arrives I’m going to find a way to give that money right back to the schools in our province. I think it’s both the right thing and the smart thing to do.
Other posts about schools……