*Photo provided by the Government of British Columbia
As the B.C. NDP move forward with legislation approving implementation of their controversial speculation tax, many residents are left wondering if they’ll be on the hook for yet another home ownership cost.
B.C.’s finance minister, Carol James is in charge of the legislation, and has gone on say that “Only those who own multiple properties and leave them empty in major cities will be asked to contribute. People with cottages at the lake, or cabins, or the islands, will not pay this tax. People with second homes outside of high-cost urban areas will not pay the tax.”
The speculation tax is based on a percentage of the property value, and ranges from 0.5% to 2% depending on various conditions. B.C. residents with vacant properties will continue to be charged the lowest rate (0.5%), with a higher rate to Canadian property owners who aren’t B.C. residents, and highest rate (2%) applied to international property owners.
What Do Party Leaders Think?
British Columbia’s politicians have weighed in, and they’re not all happy. “This is the height of NDP arrogance and hypocrisy. Our goal is to defeat this bill because it is a phony tax. It accomplishes nothing except to grab revenue for the NDP.” said Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson.
B.C. Green Party Andrew Weaver has expressed concern over the bill as well, taking a more measured approach.
“I still have concerns that Canadians are not being treated equally and that there is an insufficient role for local governments in determining what happens in their communities,” Weaver said in a statement.
While the Liberal and NDP leaders seem united in their concern over the tax, the Green Party’s history of siding with the NDP minority government has many apprehensive that the party’s passive allegiance will see this bill become law.
“We’re considering everything, but right now we are negotiating with the government to improve municipal input,” Weaver said. “We have a good working relationship with the NDP.”
Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson was unimpressed. “That’s classic Andrew Weaver,” Wilkinson said. “He talks tough, but then he always supports the government.”
A collaboration between the two parties could easily lead to a defeat of this bill, but with the state of politics in the province today, it seems likely that British Columbians will be left holding the bag for another home ownership tax.