NDP shies away from action on rental housing crisis

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Todd Stone Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure

Kamloops: Concerned BC Liberals are asking why John Horgan has stopped advocating for tax incentives to build more rental housing, despite an ever-growing demand and the NDP’s own 30-point housing plan.

“John Horgan and the NDP’s lack of action on rental housing is disappointing but unsurprising,” said Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone. “They talk a big game on housing affordability, but then squander every chance they have to make positive strides forward. Horgan knows all about raising taxes, but I guess he doesn’t have the guts to ask the feds for a reduction in GST for new purpose-built homes – even though this could significantly impact British Columbia’s long-term rental market.”

In a recent report, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade suggests that there are several unexplored options to increase incentives to build long-term rental housing in B.C. The most notable is a reduction in GST for new purpose-built rental units – a campaign promise of the federal government. But documents obtained through a Freedom-of-Information request show the NDP is reluctant to advocate for this much-needed tax break, as calls for a corresponding PST rebate would mean fewer taxpayer dollars in provincial government coffers.

“By failing to keep Ottawa accountable, John Horgan is showing he is not willing to do what is necessary to help British Columbians,” added Stone. “With job numbers plummeting, industries struggling, and NDP tax increases across the board, this government is simply failing to advocate for this province.”

According to the government documents, PST and GST respectively account for three and six percent of construction costs of new rental housing. The documents further state that all project costs are passed along to the eventual tenant through higher rents.