Thanks for the opportunity to participate in one of the most engaging and needed dialogues in many years. The Winnipeg Real Estate Board applauds Mayor Murray and the considerable effort by all involved to reexamine and question how we fund our city and to look at alternative revenue streams that can grow with the economy and lessen our reliance on property taxes. Excessive property taxes deter people and businesses from locating here and also hurt efforts to retain residents and businesses. Moreover, a high tax environment discourages investment and improvements in property.
Uppermost in this necessary exercise that has galvanized extensive public debate and media coverage is what kind of future do we want for our city? REALTORS understand probably better than anyone else the importance of Winnipeg offering a good quality of life. We are often the first contact when it comes to prospective home buyers asking questions about schools, neighbourhoods, property taxes, community facilities and amenities, transportation and housing availability and prices. The same can be said on the commercial side of the ledger as potential investors are keenly aware of circumstances and conditions in other cities and want to know definitive answers on what the business climate is here and how responsive our city is to creating favourable conditions for business.
We understand how a pivotal a role local government plays in setting the stage for a city’s success and laying out a solid foundation for its future prosperity. We know investing in infrastructure is critical to building a vibrant city and one that is able to compete with the best of them for jobs, people and investment. It is important that we look at this new deal beyond Winnipeg per se and really consider the capital region since a number of the issues raised around specific proposals have been how Winnipeg will be put at a disadvantage to outlying municipalities. Our position as stated in our recommendations to the Regional Planning Advisory Committee is that we need to develop a regional plan. In light of this new deal proposal, the plan should address and incorporate the very valid issues raised under the new deal and while still covering off economic development, proper provision of regional services and long term planning ands coordination of municipality efforts.
Please download the full 6-page PDF file to read this entire position paper.