BURNABY – The NDP government should scrap its so-called ‘speculation’ tax, as it risks the health of the provincial economy with a host of unintended consequences, says the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA).

While the government wants to address housing affordability, this patchwork tax will do the exact opposite. It will kill jobs, make the housing affordability issue worse, and hurt the B.C. tourism industry.

“This speculation tax targets hardworking British Columbians and other Canadian taxpayers,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA president. “It is difficult to fathom why the B.C. Government wants to stop or penalize Canadians from investing in B.C.”

Gardner noted that ICBA represents hundreds of small residential construction companies, most of whom point out that the lack of supply of new housing is the biggest cost driver for buyers.

“If the NDP government wanted to get serious about making housing more affordable, they would have dedicated at least one point in their 30-point housing plan to cutting red tape and getting more supply to market,” said Gardner. “Instead, they’ve resorted to simply raising taxes. At ICBA, we want to ‘Get to yes’ on new housing supply – not on new taxes.  No amount of new taxes is going to make housing more affordable for young families starting out looking to buy a home.”

To help spread the word, a website, www.scrapthespeculationtax.ca, launched today. It allows citizens to learn more about the tax and send an email to their local MLA with their concerns.

“Just because John Horgan calls it a ‘speculation’ tax doesn’t mean it has anything to do with actual speculation,” said Jordan Bateman, ICBA Communications Director. “This tax does nothing to address the speculation that has helped drive up housing prices. It does, however, hurt people who own second properties or may be looking to move to B.C. when they retire. That’s why cities like Langford, West Vancouver, Kelowna and West Kelowna are desperately appealing to Victoria to be exempted from this tax.”

ICBA has joined a coalition of provincial groups recommending that the B.C. government immediately scrap the ‘Speculation’ Tax and do the following to address housing affordability:

  • Target real speculators, not long-term homeowners, including many out-of-province residents;
  • Protect our local tourism-dependent economies, like Kelowna and the South Island;
  • Reduce the cost of delivering housing units by exempting vacant development land from this tax;
  • Exempt Canadian and British Columbian taxpayers from this unfair tax measure; and,
  • Work with municipalities to speed up permitting and approvals to help bring more housing supply to market faster.