There have been rumblings at the federal and provincial levels of government, rumblings that have turned into whispers and more that Ottawa and Victoria are mulling a home equity tax.
Governments in power that denied they are considering such a tax, but smoke and fire and all that.
At the federal level, the new tax speculation arose after the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) gave $250,000 to a project at UBC called Generation Squeeze, which is looking into how to even the playing field between those who own homes and those who rent their abodes.
Despite the CMHC’s denials that the project is linked to a home equity tax study, not everyone is convinced.
At the provincial level, the B.C. Liberal Party has sounded the home equity tax alarm, noting Paul Kershaw, who helped craft many NDP policies, is part of UBC’s Generation Squeeze project. The Liberals also note the B.C. Greens, who help keep the NDP in power by holding the balance of power, included home equity tax in their 2017 campaign platform.
The bottom line is homeowners face more than their fair share of taxes, from property taxes every year, to sales taxes when improving their homes, to a national foreign-homebuyer tax, to B.C.’s speculation tax, to Vancouver’s empty home tax, to GST on new homes, to the greatest cash grab of us — the land transfer tax, introduced in the 1980s by then-premier Bill Vander Zalm.
It was originally meant to tax speculation and the wealthy, but has since become a catch-all tax that serves only to fill government coffers. And, though successive premiers were fiercely opposed to the tax, not one did anything to eliminate or amend it.
Yes, our economy is in a bad place, but government needs to find another source of revenue because homeowners were tapped out long ago.