I would like to clarify a few key factual points on the increase of school tax on high value properties for 2019.
This tax does not affect any home with an assessed value of $3,000,000 or less. The tax change does add a property surtax to the assessed value of a property between $3,000,000 and $4,000,000 at .2%, and above $4,000,000 at .4%. For example, the additional tax on a $3,100,000 property would be $200 annually. Additional tax on a $3,500,000 property would be $1,000 annually.
You may have heard that the “school tax” is not going to schools. That is somewhat correct – the tax will raise between $200m and $250m per year, which is less than half of our government’s new spending on education provincially to ensure our kids get the class sizes and the support that they need to succeed, compared to the budgets proposed by the previous administration. The entirety of the budget for education is between $6-7B annually, compared to $2B brought in by all property taxes to the province. This is not a new tax or a new name for the tax; the school tax has been the name for the provincial share of the property tax budget since the Socreds.
With respect to the school tax, and property taxes generally, I am concerned about seniors in our community who may be low income, but who have high value homes, given the remarkable amount of misinformation that has been distributed about the tax, and about government’s tax deferral programs generally. My staff are able to help constituents in learning more about the subsidized property tax deferral programs the government offers to ensure that seniors are not unfairly impacted by these changes. The tax deferral program offers extremely low interest rates, no prepayment/repayment penalties, and simple rather than compound interest to those 55 and older.
We have also assisted those with unique encumbrances on their properties like leasehold or co-op properties to ensure the Ministry of Finance is aware that assessed value may not be reflective of the potential sale value, and we have facilitated delivery of constituent concerns directly to the Finance Minister.
This tax was part of the three year budget released in February. I can assist you in submitting feedback to Finance Minister Carole James if you would like to register complaints or approval of this policy choice. I look forward to helping all of my constituents get feedback to this government about policies that you like and dislike, and I will be sure to represent your views in Victoria, whether or not we agree.
Please see the following video of my remarks on this topic, as well as our panelists, at Housing Townhall 2.0: https://www.facebook.com/dave.eby/videos/1820270008033339/. I also spoke at the West Point Grey Residents Association: https://www.facebook.com/dave.eby/videos/1814159695311037/