Against my own self-interest
Talk radio has been going nuts all week over the city’s proposed land transfer tax. Adam Vaughan, though he’s not among the architects of the tax, keeps going on AM640 to defend it valiantly. Callers are livid. I’m a first-time homeowner—hasn’t even been a year now—and I know that this tax will reduce the value of my investment. And yet, I don’t give a damn. I think this tax makes sense.
Maybe I’m unconcerned because I just bought a home and expect to live in it for some time, so I know I’m not going to have to pay it for years to come. But this is one of the proposal’s strengths: it will be charged to the least number of people, yet it will generate a substantial amount of revenue. Given that Toronto’s property tax rate is so low, the tax just ups the price of entry: pay up front to get into the market, then pay low monthly rates. I was mad about the provincial land-transfer tax we had to pay when we bought the place, but my anger was quickly redirected towards all the necessary repairs that the fluffer, in concert with my own real estate agent, successfully hid from view. Successive and steep increases in market prices have not deterred people from buying homes, so I find it hard to believe that a 2% tax would somehow ruin neighbourhoods, as the AM640 guys were hysterically arguing.