Wilkinson says he will dump speculation tax just weeks after CMHC confirms it’s working

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BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson confirmed today that he is planning to give real estate speculators a $185 million tax break by eliminating the Speculation and Vacancy Tax if he is elected premier.

BC Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite promoted Wilkinson’s comment, made at the Vancouver Board of Trade: “We will abolish NDP phoney Spec Tax.” (Tweet)

Just a few weeks ago, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reported that the number of condos being used for long-term rental in Metro Vancouver increased by a record 11,118 in 2019. The CMHC concluded that the speculation tax and other policies have “impacted the behaviour of investors who may previously have used their units for different purposes.” (CMHC Rental Market Report, pages 4-5)

Polls have shown that British Columbians support the speculation tax by a three to one margin. The tax is set to raise $185 million to help pay for new housing supply.

Wilkinson also opposed the BC NDP’s 2018 move to reduce the maximum annual rent increase by 2%. And just three weeks ago, BC Liberal MLA Sam Sullivan reiterated his support for unlimited rent increases. (Hansard)

Since 2017, the BC Liberals have backed over $3 billion in tax cuts to the richest British Columbians and profitable corporations.

Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End:

“Andrew Wilkinson’s tax breaks to the top 1% and real estate speculators will mean people pay with higher housing costs and cuts to services. With John Horgan we’re tackling the housing crisis head-on, but there’s much more work to do for people. Andrew Wilkinson would undo that progress and cause home prices and rents to skyrocket again. That’s a risk we can’t afford to take.”