Municipal taxation in Manitoba

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Hutchings, Cecil James
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Within the past decade the increasing financial difficulties of municipal governments in Manitoba, as evidenced by the high rate of taxation, the rapid accumulation of tax arrears, and the threatened bankruptcy of certain municipalities, have attracted considerable attention from students of public finance, municipal officials and, in particular, the real property taxpayer. This has led to the appointment of several commissions for the purpose of investigating problems of municipal finance in this province. The reports of these investigators emphasize the narrow and inequitable basis of the existing system of municipal taxation and recommend a broadening of that basis as well as various plans for the equalization of the burden of taxation. The collapse of real property values in 1913, following the period of inflation, together with the phenomenal increase in the expensiveness of municipal services has shown some of the defects of a fiscal system, whereby the greater part of the revenue for both beneficial and onerous services is derived from a tax levied on the assessed capital value of real property. The rapid increase in the rate of taxation has been due, in part, to the lowering of the assessment of real property since 1913, in part, to the increase in price of services and of commodities other than land since the commencement of the Great War, and, in part, to the demands and needs of an increasing population.