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Politics

Green Party calls for speculator and flipping taxes on BC homes

B.C. Green party leader Andrew Weaver speaks to media at the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, May 30, 2017. .
B.C. Green party leader Andrew Weaver speaks to media at the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, May 30, 2017. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

The B.C. Green Party is telling the government they should implement both a speculators tax and a flipping tax on B.C. homes in the upcoming provincial budget. Party leader Andrew Weaver laid out his party’s wish list Wednesday morning in Vancouver that includes a restriction on foreign home buyers.

“People who don’t live, work, and pay taxes here should be prohibited from purchasing existing property here,” states the Green’s submission it has passed on to the government. “We are in an emergency: the scope and urgency of the affordability crisis mean that a prohibition on foreign purchasing is an appropriate response.”

The NDP’s first full budget will be introduced on Feb. 20 in Victoria.

The B.C. Green Party holds the balance of power in the legislature, with it’s three members vowing to support NDP budgets. But the Greens hope that their influence will lead to the government implementing some of their suggested changes.

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READ MORE: B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver: renters’ rebate was a way to win votes not address affordability

The Greens are also calling on loopholes in the foreign buyers tax to be closed. Right now the 15 per cent tax does not apply to pre-sales of condos, partnerships, or purchases of Agriculture Land Reserve land. The Greens are also calling on the government to restrict foreign purchases of ALR land over a certain size.

On the supply side, the Greens are calling on the province to allow all jurisdictions to implement an empty home tax. Right now only Vancouver has the ability to implement the tax. There is also the suggestion the budget should include provincial action to restrict and regulate the short-term rental market like the City of Vancouver has.

“In our extremely tight rental markets, with near 0 [per cent] vacancy rates, short-term rentals like Airbnb are taking many units out of long-term rental supply,” says the report. “The province should work with local governments to acquire better information and tracking ability of short-term rentals and to encourage property owners to return units to the long-term rental supply.”

READ MORE: BC Green Leader calls for foreign buyer limits on agricultural land

The Greens are also questioning the NDP policy to provide every renter with a $400 annual credit. Instead they are encouraging the government to change the policy so it is means tested.

The credit “does not provide enough support for those who really need it, while it gives money to those with high incomes,” reads the Green’s wishlist. “Instead, government should target financial assistance programs to those who need it most.”

Read the full document below:

B.C. Green Party 2018 housing wish list by amyjudd on Scribd

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