Government must take bolder action on speculation tax: BCGEU

Yet without proper taxation on the value of land, government is leaving money on the table that could go towards funding the services and infrastructure British Columbians need." —Paul Finch, BCGEU Treasurer

Burnaby (22 Feb. 2018) — The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) is pleased to see the NDP government's newly released 30-point housing plan that  proposes significant steps towards addressing the province's housing affordability crisis. This plan includes measures, many of which the BCGEU/NUPGE has been calling for:

  • introducing a progressive property transfer tax surcharge
  • closing loopholes that promote tax evasion
  • building affordable rental, non-profit, co-op and owner-purchase housing units

However, the "speculation tax" as proposed in this plan, while reflective of BCGEU/NUPGE recommendations, will not go far enough to curb the full extent of speculation in the market. It also misses a major revenue opportunity by narrowly applying the tax to landowners not paying income taxes in B.C. — leaving out developers and land speculators.

BCGEU/NUPGE urges government to implement Land Value Capture tax 

Last November, the BCGEU/NUPGE released its report Building an Affordable B.C., co-authored by Jared Melvin, CUPE 1767 President and Harpinder Sandhu, Vice President, which recommends implementing a Land Value Capture (LVC) tax as the centrepiece of a recalibrated tax system. This tax would apply to developers and those who actively speculate on land values, who for years have been making runaway profits in an environment that is largely untaxed and unregulated. Land Value Capture is a moderate intervention that reduces the incentive for speculation, while generating revenue for government investment in transit and infrastructure in the area being developed.

"The value of B.C.'s real estate market has risen to $1.8 trillion — one of our largest sectors. Yet without proper taxation on the value of land, government is leaving money on the table that could go towards funding the services and infrastructure British Columbians need," says Paul Finch, BCGEU Treasurer.

The BCGEU/NUPGE continues to build support for the plan put forward in building an affordable B.C. Yet, the union will continue to push government to adopt a widely-applied Land Value Capture tax. This tax is clearly the most effective tool to stabilize speculation, enhance revenue and resources for public services, and to make life more affordable for British Columbians.

Attend open meeting on housing crisis 

The provincial government's 30-point plan is a promising first step towards addressing the housing crisis. However, it would be significantly strengthened by the adoption of the LVC tax, a measure the union hopes to see included in next year's budget.

The BCGEU/NUPGE will host a public meeting on the housing affordability crisis on Monday, February 26 at the Vancouver Public Library at 6:30pm (Peter Kaye Room). A 5-person panel including Vancouver City Councillor Adriane Carr, Tesicca Truong from Generation Squeeze, CUPE 1767 member Harpinder Sandhu, BCGEU Treasurer Paul Finch, and BCGEU Executive Vice President Kari Michaels will engage the public on their stories and ideas for solutions. Recommendations from the report Building an Affordable B.C. will also be presented.


NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE