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Vaughn Palmer: Weaver says new housing taxes more cash cow than crisis solver

VICTORIA — The last time a B.C. NDP government brought in a tax surcharge on high-value homes, the move was both ideologically driven and wrong-headed.

“We let our doctrinal beliefs about ‘the wealthy must pay’ blind us to reality,” wrote then-Premier Mike Harcourt in a memoir published after he left office. “The basic premise of why we were doing this had more to do with left-wing bias than shrewd political thinking.”

The Harcourt government announced the surcharge on the school portion of property taxes on budget day in 1993, then abandoned it a week later in the face of a brewing tax revolt on the west side of Vancouver.

“We deserved to be the target of a tax revolt,” wrote Harcourt with the benefit of hindsight. “A significant number of those ‘rich folk’ turned out to be people on fixed incomes, many of them seniors who had bought their properties decades ago and were now seemingly being penalized for the market values their homes might attract.”

Full story here: http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/vaughn-palmer-weaver-says-new-housing-taxes-more-cash-cow-than-crisis-solver


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