While Richmond’s new hospital tower and the George Massey Tunnel may have been neglected from B.C.’s 2018 budget, many residents in the province are pleased with several items that did make the cut.
According to an Insights West poll, ideas on the budget to address the housing crisis were particularly popular. More than 80 per cent of B.C. residents thought expanding the boundaries of the foreign buyers tax and increasing it from 15 per cent to 20 per cent was either a “very good” or “good” idea.
Here in Richmond, foreign buyers account for 7.5 per cent of homeowners in the city, but some residents also wanted protection for farmland.
“They increased the Foreign Buyer's Tax on residential properties which will incentivize farmland even more. Why did they fail to act to protect farmland?” asked Richmond FarmWatch, via Facebook.
More than 80 per cent of British Columbians also agreed with introducing a “speculation tax” of two per cent on a property’s assess value for vacant homes whose homeowners don’t pay income tax in B.C.
“In January, Insights West reported that concerns about housing, homelessness and poverty had jumped to the highest level recorded in the province over the past five years,” said Mario Canseco, vice president of public affairs, at Insights West in a press release. “The budget proposals that deal with real estate are supported by a large majority of residents, and especially among those aged 35-to-54.”
Looking at the budget as a whole, British Columbians felt fairly positive towards it, according to Insight West’s poll, as half of B.C.’s residents expect the provincial budget to be positive for the province, while 40 per cent believe it will be positive for their municipality.