Media Release

Inappropriate, misleading and could result in harm to homeowners

By on 11/21/2018

“Inappropriate, misleading and could result in harm to homeowners” – A Perfect Definition of the NDP Government’s Additional ‘School Tax’.

VANCOUVER, BC – Yesterday, the Ministry of Finance provided a statement about the Political Tax Assessment letters, that the Society to Encourage Political Understanding & Participation (“STEPUP”), mailed to over 24,000 affected Vancouver homeowners. The Ministry ironically characterized the letters as “inappropriate, misleading and could result in harm to homeowners”.

Vancouver homeowners targeted by the NDP’s additional ‘School Tax’ can now fully understand and quantify its financial impact by reviewing their personalized Political Tax Assessment letter and utilizing the website. 

The NDP is deliberately misleading the public, by naming this a ‘School Tax’, when its collected revenues are treated as general revenue, not earmarked specifically for schools or local education. Equally concerning is the NDP’s inappropriate decision to target, through policy, a specific segment of British Columbia’s homeowners. The resulting harm to homeowners in Vancouver is, on average, a 35% total property tax increase from 2018 to 2019.  

The NDP has frequently defended the ‘School Tax’ as a ‘fair’ and ‘modest’ tax increase. The facts don’t support the rhetoric. All British Columbians should be concerned that this government either truly believes a 35% on average property tax increase is reasonable, or that politicians are misleading or misrepresenting its true impact. 

The ‘School Tax’ is a cautious example of the inappropriate use of public policy for political gain. Under the cover of ‘affordability’, the NDP has added a significant financial burden to thousands of targeted homeowners and their families while offering minimal revenue to the provincial budget. The resulting harm to homeowners weakens our communities and encourages division along political and ideological lines. Raising one family’s tax burden to unprecedented levels doesn’t make homeownership more affordable to another family.

STEPUP’s Political Tax Assessment letters all state clearly, “This is Not a Tax Notice. Tax Notices Are Issued by Your Government”. The NDP is concerned that some homeowners may think letters to be official government correspondence. In its statement, the Ministry asked taxpayers who received a “fake assessment” to disregard it or report it. STEPUP encourages concerned British Columbians to not disregard it. Instead, recipients should reach out to their elected MLA to confirm if the calculations provided in their Political Tax Assessment letter are “fake” or, in fact, accurate.

Furthermore, we challenge the NDP Government to release the entire BC Assessment Residential Data Set to the provincial Open Data Catalogue so that all British Columbians can review and calculate the true impact of the additional ‘School Tax’. 

British Columbian’s don’t take comfort or pleasure in seeing their neighbours targeted for the benefit of a political party. We are stepping up to challenge these kinds of political policies and ideology that divide and weaken our communities. We are fighting to ensure that British Columbia continues to belong to the people and not the politicians. 

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The Society to Encourage Political Understanding & Participation ‘STEPUP’ is an independent, community-based society. Our Mission connects with and mobilizes people for participatory advocacy. We fund and execute campaigns on key issues and oppose politicians who divide and weaken our communities for partisan gain. We envision a British Columbia where thoughtful policy abets responsible achievement, sustainable environments, and vibrant communities. Ordinary citizens deserve to be heard by their elected officials. Addressing big challenges requires buy-in across partisan lines. We strongly oppose divisive and intransigent political policy under the guise of social conscience. We are all in this (great province) together.

STEPUP was formed in spring 2018 by a committed group of diverse citizens who were previously not politically active. The motivation was a genuine concern for the current trajectory of BC politics. We want healthy and vibrant communities for our children and grandchildren. We’re motivated to step it up to channel a collective voice. Today, our active volunteers are growing by the dozens. Our supporters reflect ideas from all three main BC parties. We are not partisan hacks. We’re united in a belief that BC is for the people, not the politicians. We rely entirely on voluntary donations and every dollar collected goes to deliver on our Mission. Please visit us at