BCGEU welcomes provincial interest in land value capture tax, seeks input in development

February 15, 2017

Land Value Capture, a mechanism that taxes development speculation along proposed transit routes and puts those dollars into transit development is a solution the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) has been advocating for since 2015 to address the Lower Mainland’s transit crisis. Now, BC TransLink Minister Peter Fassbender is proposing a provincial development tax which the BCGEU welcomes. However, the union would look forward to engaging with TransLink on the development of the tax to contribute its expertise on the mechanism, as well as to provide input on issues that affect union members such as having a broad transit system and protecting affordable housing.

The BCGEU was critical of the Metro Vancouver sales tax proposed as a transit funding option during the 2015 transit referendum. The union perceived the tax as a wealth transfer from working people to real estate developers and instead put forward Land Value Capture as an alternative solution. “We believe that existing transit projects are used as a subsidy for real estate speculators, and we want to see that value put back into developing a broad transit system,” said BCGEU Treasurer Paul Finch. “If done right, housing affordability is not negatively impacted, consumers aren’t overcharged for everyday items, businesses aren’t subjected to more downward pressure on their sales, and municipal governments don’t lose revenue.”

The BCGEU represents over 73,000 workers, many of whom rely on public transit, and some of whom work on the Canada Line. Through Land Value Capture, funding is made available for transit improvements that reduce congestion, create more housing options along transit routes, and ensure environmental sustainability, all without placing a regressive sales tax burden on British Columbians.

Read Paul Finch’s 2015 Vancouver Sun op-ed: Fund transit by taxing land speculators

For more information or to arrange an interview with BCGEU Treasurer Paul Finch, please contact Bronwen Barnett, BCGEU Communications, 604-719-4713