Dear Dr. Weaver,
I have no doubt that you have been following the school tax issue. In my neighbourhood it has certainly been a huge issue and I would imagine that Oak Bay is not a lot different.
In your career you have fought consistently for what is logical, and fair, with deep regard to not harm people. I think we need more of a Green presence in our smaller and larger worlds. The Green Party has certainly garnered support for their initiatives municipally, provincially and federally.
In the last election it was overdue to get rid of the Liberal Party. They had been in way too long and all of us were feeling it, even those of us who had voted for them in the past.
The agreement you signed with Premier Horgan is of interest to me because of the word speculation in reference to house prices. You can define that word several ways but we all know what it meant in our neighbourhood - outside money coming in and buying up homes with the intent to flip them asap for profit. OK, so that is business I guess, but it created a situation that has been very detrimental to the housing market and now especially to those of us who have lived here a long time.
And I mean a long time. I spoke to an older widow who bought her home in 1962 for $27,000. I bought mine in 1996. I remember not sleeping for a couple of months afterward as I thought about how I could possibly pay that off. It took me 18 years to retire that loan and I worked hard at it with lots of sacrifices. I am now in my sixties, disabled due to MS and living in my home which I had planned to live in forever.
When Mr. Eby unveiled his so called school tax (which we all know is the only way the government can get at the property) we were all aghast. This tax is going to make it impossible for many residents of my neighbourhood to keep their homes. You see….we are on life support financially. When you retire you have your budget drawn up and you have to forego many of the activities that are available when you work. To remove thousands of dollars from our yearly budget is frightening, stressful and angering. It is such an unfair tax in it’s application and although .4% seems intrinsically small, it adds up to huge dollars.
None of us seniors are speculators. We don’t buy and sell homes hoping to make a quick buck. We live in our homes, we support our communities, we volunteer our time. Just when we should be lauded for the contributions we have made to the quality of life in BC, we get slapped in the face, made to feel like predatory villains and this is not the kind of fairness that you have been fighting for in your political career.
Forecasts of the detrimental effect this will have on renters, seniors, disabled, and even the downward pressure on the lower ends of the housing market all show that this is a misguided ideological tax. it will do NOTHING to help with creating more supply. Supply is really the issue and there needs to be more work aimed at that. Help these cities make it easier to develop on the supply side. What I know will happen here is that we will be forced to sell our homes at lower prices, offshore money will see that the lower prices counterbalance the speculation tax and swoop in to buy my property up, leave it empty or put one student in it - like so many other homes. They need to get their money out of their countries and Canada is still a bargain in their eyes. They have zero intent on being landlords, dealing with complicated landlord tenancy regulations, and so don’t mind paying the tax. The neighbourhoods will continue emptying and there will be no long term positive change.
One other thing to think about. Here on the west side of Vancouver, the bulk of homeowners are people who have been successful in their lives. They did well in school, they looked after people, they employed people, they live by the rules generally. If they are forced to spend thousands of dollars on a false tax then I can guarantee you that funding for community events, and especially charities will dry up. Think of the unintended cost of that. Fewer dollars to go around means fewer services for people and organizations who need help, more reliance of government which means more tax and the spiral continues.
Please consider not supporting this onerous tax. You can definitely help the government find alternative funding sources other than harming homeowners, disabled, seniors, renters, or creating a class war. How about this…Nigeria has just imposed a 4 cent a day tax on using social media! We could do that! How about everyone on social media pays twenty five cents a day? That would add up pretty quickly!
If you and your 2 colleagues (who also own at least one residence and will be affected by this tax, and especially when they are older) were to explain to the NDP government that this tax is a very poor one that does not address speculation….well, you would have my vote for years to come. The Green Party could make major inroads by publicly not supporting the bill. It does not mean a non-confidence vote, just the threat that you hold the balance of power against a callous and dictatorial group in Victoria who want revenge for not being in power for the last 16 years.
Thanks for wading through all this. I hope you can vote with a clear conscience.
Finally thanks for helping to make the world greener. We need more people like you. You have the power to right a wrong.
Dr. David Mallory