A letter to the Hon. Carole James, Minister of Finance:
I write as a full-time resident of B.C. and a voter to express opposition to the provincial government’s plan to institute a property speculation tax on residents who regularly spend part of the year in their homes in our province, but whose principal residence is elsewhere in Canada.
This is a bad idea for the following reasons: part-time residents pay full property taxes on their homes, which entitles them to use community services in the same manner as full-time residents. Furthermore, their use is less than full-time, thereby reducing pressure on these services.
Adding a tax is unfair. If these part-time residents require health care, the cost is billed to their home province. Many part-time residents own condominiums with bylaws that forbid rentals or short term rentals, so they cannot rent their property, even if they are willing. As their B.C. residence is their second home, why should they rent out or be taxed any more than full-time B.C. residents who own vacation property?
If the purpose of the proposed tax on non-residents is to reduce speculation and increase the rental pool, then focus should be on real estate that remains vacant year-round, whether the owners are B.C. residents, other Canadians or foreign owners. In conclusion, those from other parts of Canada who choose to live part-time in and contribute to our economy in B.C., rather than out of country, should not be penalized for doing so.