Libs offer homeowners relief

Yukon's Liberals are promising to put more money in the pockets of homeowners. The Official Opposition is vowing to double the Yukon homeowner grant if elected.

Yukon’s Liberals are promising to put more money in the pockets of homeowners.

The Official Opposition is vowing to double the Yukon homeowner grant if elected.

The rebate currently covers half of a household’s property taxes, up to $450. Liberals would lift the ceiling to $900.

For seniors, who are eligible to have three-quarters of their home property taxes rebated, the ceiling would rise to $1,000 from $500.

The territory currently spends $3.2 million each year on the grant.

In Whitehorse, the average homeowner has seen property taxes rise by nearly $500 since 2007, said Liberal Leader Arthur Mitchell.

Raising the rebate ought to help young homeowners struggling to buy a first home, and elderly homeowners on fixed incomes, he said.

“It’s something we can do to help people who are on that bubble. How do you deal with the fact that the average house is now worth more than $400,000?” asked Mitchell.

The pledge is the first part of a “comprehensive strategy” to tackle the territory’s housing shortage, said Mitchell.

Relief for renters is also in the works. But Mitchell won’t offer any details on that yet.

“We have to do a lot of things to make housing more affordable,” he said.

Mitchell worries that, as it stands, the territory isn’t cashing-in on its mining boom, thanks to many footloose miners who are working stints in the Yukon, then heading Outside to spend their earnings.

“We’re spilling a lot of money,” said Mitchell. “Those people aren’t buying or renting housing.”

Nor are they buying snowmobiles and trucks in the territory, or sending their children to school here.

Yet the territory is paying the bill for the roads and bridges necessary for mining to occur.

“We’re going to pay that,” said Mitchell. “Let’s make sure we get the benefits.

“This government has been saying for years, ‘Mining is coming, mining is coming.’ Why aren’t they prepared for it?”

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.