Change in homeowner grant to $1.6M ludicrous for most of B.C.

It is ridiculous that people in the Cowichan Valley with homes of $1.6 million will now qualify for a homeowner grant from the province.

It is patently ridiculous that people in the Cowichan Valley with homes of $1.6 million will now qualify for a homeowner grant from the province.

It’s ridiculous that somebody in Victoria with a $1.6 million home will qualify.

It’s ridiculous that someone in Nanaimo with a $1.6 million home will get a grant.

You get the point.

Anywhere outside of the metro Vancouver area, this tax break makes no sense.

The previous threshold of $1.2 million home value didn’t make sense for the vast majority of British Columbia, and this move just makes it worse.

We can see the logic of the move for Vancouver and its surrounding communities, where home prices have climbed into the stratosphere.

It’s a market where modest houses can go for $1 million, and someone who’s lived in their home for decades has seen the value of their property climb astronomically, while it’s quite possible that their income has not kept pace.

But why does the government insist on applying the $1.6 million threshold to the whole of British Columbia?

In the Cowichan Valley it is perfectly possible to get a really nice home for $600,000, well below the $1 million threshold.

If you have a home valued at $1.6 million you have absolutely no need for a tax break. Your home is a palatial mansion, probably with outbuildings and amenities, likely on substantial acreage.

Ditto for the rest of the province.

That these folks now qualify for a homeowner grant is a huge distortion of the system, giving further unnecessary advantage to the already well-off.

One would think it would be a relatively simple thing to use addresses to confine the $1.6 million grant threshold to the area where people may actually need it in and around Vancouver.

Why is the province not doing this? They’re not even talking about it.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow when all us regular folks are facing down increases in everything from Hydro rates to medical services plan premiums.

What this amounts to is another tax cut for the rich.

Which always comes at the expense of the poor, either in increased taxes, new fees for services, or cuts to vital services.

One has to wonder if this change would have been made were this not an election year.

The Liberals, courtesy of B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong, claim this benefits all British Columbians.

Yeah right. And I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.