The BC government’s decision to increase the homeowners grant threshold won’t necessarily affect most of the Northern region.
That’s according to BC NDP housing spokesperson David Eby.
People who don't pay income tax in BC shouldn't get homeowner's grants. They should pay higher property taxes: https://t.co/Wu93aIaAYt
— David Eby (@Dave_Eby) January 10, 2017
He says he couldn’t believe the provincial liberals took so long to make this announcement.
“The only surprise to me really was that it took the government so long to announce this; I think they thought that they would actually get away with not issuing these grants and maybe save some money, but I’m sure a few angry calls to MLAs changed their minds.”
Finance Minister Michael De Jong said on Tuesday the homeowners grant has gone up to $1.6 million, an increase of 33% from 2016.
— BC Government News (@BCGovNews) January 10, 2017
Eby says this will, more or less, affect current homeowners who struggle with additional rising costs to a home like BC Hydro and ICBC.
“In fact, for people who were hit by an increase in home values who lost the grant at best, this has put them back in a position they were in about a year ago with slightly higher property taxes.”
According to Eby, there are a significant amount of homeowners in BC that will apply and receive this grant, but don’t even pay their income tax here, which he says isn’t fair.
“I’m talking about people who’re paying their income tax in another jurisdiction, whether it’s another province or whether it’s another country. The reality is you shouldn’t get a grant if you’re not paying taxes in British Columbia, I believe you should be paying more property taxes on someone who pays their income tax here.”
He also says he sees no benefit for renters in this program.
“It doesn’t recognize that a lot of people are going to be renting for a long time, so the government needs to be making sure that there’s more affordable rental housing stock and there certainly are ways they could do that.”
Eby claims this announcement from the Christy Clark government is another way of neglecting the issue of ‘true affordable housing.’