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Should Vancouver adopt a 'mansion tax?' Here's what one councillor proposes


A Vancouver councillor is pushing for the city to adopt what she's calling a "mansion tax."

Jean Swanson has a motion coming up before council that will call on the province to change the city charter. If her motion is approved on the municipal level and then in Victoria, it would give the City of Vancouver the ability to levy a progressive tax.

Under the current system, the city can only charge one rate for property taxes, meaning whether you own a studio condo or a $70-million mansion, you're paying the same rate in property taxes, she said.

Obviously the dollar amount is different, but Swanson proposed a change to the percentage as well.

She said her theory is similar to that in place with income taxes, where different brackets pay different rates each year.

Exactly what it would look like is yet to be determined, she said, but gave an example in an interview with CTV News Monday.

"We figured, if you tax people with houses worth over $5 million one per cent extra, and over $10 million two per cent extra, we could get about $225 million extra a year," Swanson said in a video call.

"The vast, vast majority of homeowners wouldn't be affected at all."

Swanson said the mansion tax would be a way to fight homelessness, and to fund more modular housing for the city's most vulnerable residents.

Additionally, she said, the money could be used for other things "that the city desperately needs, like… dealing with climate change, dealing with Indigenous land rights, things like that."

She claimed the money raised by such a tax would be enough to end homelessness in three or four years.

The motion – which will likely face criticism from homeowners and potentially those in the real estate and investment industries, among others – goes before council next week.

"I'm thinking it has a chance of passing," she said.

"The problem would be getting the province to do it, but the first step in getting anything done is to ask for what you really need, and what cities need is the ability to tax progressively." Top Stories

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