It is disappointing to see this kind of alarmist rhetoric, based on misconceptions and untruths, spreading from areas like West Vancouver to Victoria by the real estate sector (look at the sponsors of this ad). I am an Oak Bay homeowner, with a significant mortgage. I grew up in Victoria and continue to live here despite working in Vancouver – where I am priced out. I support the tax on homes worth more than $3 million to increase the quality of public education in B.C., underfunded for more than a decade.
Many taxes are regressive because they are not based on income or ability to pay (sales taxes, for example, hit the poor hardest), but the enhanced school tax only applies to properties worth more than $3 million. Those over 55 (and some under that age) regardless of income or assets are able to take advantage of tax deferment program. BC already has low property taxes, in a comparative sense. As economist Rhys Kesselman wrote in the Tyee “providing unlimited tax preferences for owners of the highest-valued homes strains basic notions of fairness. Moreover, British Columbia’s wealth inequality is among the most extreme of the Canadian provinces.”
I don’t consider it my right to see my home equity increase stratospherically just because I am lucky enough to be in the market, while many in this province are priced out and unable to find decent and affordable rental housing. Housing is a right, not profits from housing. Schools like Willows, which attract new families to the area, are full to capacity. This tax invests in our children, the future of this province. That should be our call to action.