Response to the tax

Many of the letters regarding the Speculation Tax are very short-sighted and are expressing false-information to the public. The speculation tax is set to, "target foreign and domestic speculators in BC. These are homeowners who have removed their units from BC’s long-term housing stock, meaning they are not owner-occupied or a qualifying long-term rental property. Satellite families, households with high worldwide income that pay little income tax in BC will also be captured by the tax (to the extent of the tax that they pay in BC, they will be able to use the income tax credit)." There will be an income tax credit available for homeowners in BC with more than one residence to apply for, as well.  

The bulk of the tax is set to deal with the large number of individuals who say they care about BC, they're part of the community but do not wish to provide housing for the community who lives here annually, nor do they want to be part of the community annually. It’s targeting the people who come here on vacation for two months, think that their purchases have stimulated the municipality's economy for the year and think we do not have people on the streets working, who can't find a home to rent. This is targeting the people who think that their very existence in this city stimulates the paving of sidewalks and repair of potholes; that the developers are building for them not the people who have grown up here, worked here, made family and friends here.  

Is this tax unfair? Growing up, people from a certain generation frequently stated that life "wasn't fair." It's hard to find compassion for those who can afford to have two residences in this country, who do not wish to provide long-term rental housing and find it "one of the two evils."  

As for the council, and our mayor? Our mayor has to make a press release reiterating that he isn't siding with the affluent part-time members of our community; evidently, our mayor's pockets must be lined quite nicely from his distinguished supporters. The majority of the city can look at the statistics - 6.1% (3,530) of our homes are empty, 50% of those homes are occupied by individuals who can sell, move to Peachland or Lake Country, or opt to rent out to the 745 homeless individuals that we have in our city. Kelowna can afford to lose 1,765 unused homes, as the estimated statistics are 900 rental markets available for those of us who are fully part of our community. 

Rhea Laverdure

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