Dan Fumano: Vancouver council opts to return millions in taxes to developers
Vancouver’s ABC-majority council decided Wednesday to waive $3.8 million in taxes that had already been levied on real estate developers who own newly built empty homes, a move that drew rebuke from the non-ABC councillors.
The empty homes tax revenue, most of which has already been collected and all of which was earmarked for social housing, will now instead go back to developers.
The decision came after council’s ABC majority amended city staff’s recommendations on adjustments to the empty homes tax, deciding to not only create a new exemption for developers, but apply it retroactively.
The three non-ABC councillors, who are from the Green party and OneCity, opposed the move. Some registered their shock, with one calling it a “reverse Robin Hood tax.”
Since Vancouver’s empty homes tax was introduced in 2016 as the first of its kind in Canada, the development industry has lobbied for an exemption for “unsold inventory,” meaning vacant homes that have been built but not yet sold.
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