Kelowna mayor still unhappy about revised speculation tax - InfoNews

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Kelowna mayor still unhappy about revised speculation tax

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran addresses the media, Tuesday, March 27, 2018.
March 27, 2018 - 4:14 PM

KELOWNA - Mayor Colin Basran says, while the changes help, the revised speculation tax is still a negative for Kelowna and will hurt the local economy.

Basran repeated his call for the tax to be changed and said council would continue to recommend the model put forth by the Union of B.C. Municipalities in February.

Finance minister Carol James announced Monday, March 27, the province is responding to the concerns by tightening up the geographical area where the tax is applied, cutting it in half to one per cent for the few Canadians the tax will actually apply to and providing a tax credit that when applied to homes worth $400,000 or less, offsets the tax completely.

What hasn't changed is that West Kelowna and Kelowna are still the only areas in the Interior where the speculation tax applies although the number of exemptions has been expanded.

Both Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater have criticized the tax, saying it threatens the economy of the Central Okanagan and doesn't actually deter real estate speculation.

The speculation tax applies to Kelowna and West Kelowna (but not the rest of the Central Okanagan) and is expected to most affect buyers and owners from outside B.C. but within Canada.

While there are exemptions to the tax, city staff estimate about 3,500 units will be classed as unoccupied within the city, about half of which are owned by B.C. residents who will be unaffected by the tax.


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