NDP and Greens vote down opt-out clause for municipalities impacted by Speculation Tax

VICTORIA (November 26, 2018) – The NDP are pushing through flawed legislation that ignores local mayors and forces British Columbians to pay tax on hard-earned savings like family cabins.

The Finance Minister has ignored months of calls from municipalities to allow an opt-out clause to mitigate the devastating local consequences of the Speculation Tax. Several amendments were tabled by the BC Liberals last week, including one that would have provided an opt-out clause, which the NDP and Greens voted unanimously against. An exemption for British Columbians over the age of 55, who had owned an existing property over 10 years, was also defeated.

“It makes little sense to exempt some parts of the Island from the Speculation Tax and then apply it to a city like Nanaimo that’s already struggling with affordable housing,” said Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell. “This tax hasn’t even become law yet and it’s already causing enough uncertainty to throw cold water on any new development or investment.”

“This tax already has a negative effect in Langford and city council does not support it. Langford is the fourth most affordable community in the province and continues to build more affordable housing than any other municipality in the region,” said the Mayor of Langford, Stewart Young. “Municipalities must be given the ability to opt out of the Speculation Tax. It will reduce investment, kill jobs and devalue homes – an annual review is pointless.  The City of Langford will continue to fight against any tax that is not required and threatens Langford’s economy and jobs for our citizens.”

“As a local business owner the slowdown in housing starts can already be felt due to new investor uncertainly as a result of the proposed speculation tax,” said Nanaimo business owner Rod Milner. “A market slowdown reduces employment and impairs the local economy with the likely impact of further decreasing housing availability.”

The Speculation Tax is retroactive to January 1st, 2018.

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