David Eby met with anger over controversial school surtax
Published Monday, June 4, 2018 6:41PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 5, 2018 1:51PM PDT
A Vancouver MLA faced angry constituents again as he hosted another town hall on a controversial B.C. surtax.
David Eby, attorney general and representative for Vancouver-Point Grey, held a meeting in his riding Monday evening about the NDP government's surtax on multimillion-dollar homes.
Starting next year, owners of homes valued at more than $3 million will be taxed 0.2 per cent each year, but that percentage doubles if a home's value is more than $4 million.
For example, the owner of a $3.5-million home would pay 0.2 per cent on $500,000, or $1,000. The owner of a $4.5-million home would pay $4,000 -- $2,000 for the first million over $3 million, and $2,000 for the $500,000 over $4 million.
Monday night's meeting came just over a month after Eby's first scheduled town hall was postponed over concerns wealthy homeowners would crash the event.
The sold-out event planned for May 1 was put off, with Eby telling reporters, "It was simply out of control. There were emails going around saying people should march on into the event even if they didn't have tickets.
"And we had seniors and high school students working the doors. They're not security guards."
And a week ago, a similar town hall drew hundreds to a packed West Side gym. People lined up to speak, and most had harsh words for the province's plan and for Eby himself.
Tempers also flared outside the meeting, with protesters for and against the tax ending up toppling over into a heap.
Eby was expected to face similar criticisms this week.
Many speaking out say they've lived in their homes for decades, and only became on-paper millionaires when the housing market took off.
"I have no intention of moving out of my house unless I'm forced out by these taxes," said area resident Jonathan Rubenstein.
"I feel like people who live in their houses – cared for them, lived in the neighbourhoods, loved their communities – feel like they are being taxed out of their houses by this tax."
So far, there is no indication the NDP might backtrack on its plan. In fact, if anything it appears that Eby is digging in his heels.
At the last town hall, he listened patiently to constituents' complaints, but then explained that some may be able to defer the tax until they sell their homes. Adults over 55 and those with kids, including adult children attending post-secondary school, can apply to defer.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Ben Miljure