NDP Leader John Horgan is clarifying his party’s plans on a pair of key housing policies rolled out as a part of this week’s platform launch.
Wednesday, Horgan announced a $400 annual grant for renters, initially suggesting the program would be universal. The party later clarified that point to say that it would be based on the amount of rent someone paid.
But with critics charging the rebate could end up benefitting the rich, Horgan appeared to say the party is open to linking it to income.
“We’ll consider a cap absolutely. We’re bringing in a rental rebate for people who are struggling. For me this is about putting money into people’s pockets. People who are struggling, people who are renting basement suites in Vancouver and around British Columbia.”
A party spokesperson later clarified that the rebate would not be means tested, but rather the cap would be related to the price of the unit.
Horgan also clarified his party’s policy around a two per cent tax on the value of homes for people who don’t pay taxes in the province, saying it would be designed not to penalize seniors, or those who are ‘house poor.’
“We would certainly have exemptions to that. If someone’s living here and doesn’t have enough income to pay taxes, that’s fine. But I think that you’ll find that the exemptions will be few, and the revenue that we’re able to generate from this will be a good deal.”
The NDP housing platform also calls for construction of 114,000 new rental and co-op units, with the party planning to pay for spending through the speculation tax, a tax on corporations and the wealthy, and the elimination of the Liberal LNG prosperity fund.
The Liberals have accused the plan as being unworkable, relying on either big tax hikes or deficit spending.
The Liberals haven’t proposed a specific housing plan, but imposed the 15 per cent foreign buyers’ tax last year and a down payment loan program for first time home buyers.
The BC Greens are proposing to double the foreign buyers’ tax, increase the property transfer tax on expensive homes, and introduce capital gains taxes on home-sale profits topping $750,000.
With files from Emily Lazatin