Nova Scotia government scraps non-resident property tax

The Nova Scotia government will not move forward with its contentious non-resident property tax after all.

Premier Tim Houston announced Thursday that his government is scrapping the non-resident property tax for all non-residents who own residential property in Nova Scotia.

The two-per-cent tax was adopted last month as a way to ease the province's housing crunch.

The announcement comes just two days after Houston said he would scale back the non-resident property tax to protect small-cottage owners.

"Today I’ll put my personal pride to the side,” said Houston at a news conference Thursday. “This policy was an effort to find a solution. It was always meant to be a tool to support housing.”

The non-resident deed transfer tax will proceed as planned, however.

Both measures were introduced in the spring budget.

But opposition to the plan came swiftly, mostly from communities that have a large number of seasonal residents.

“The spin-off dollars that are going to be spent by the people that come to our area for the summer season is enormous,” said Amherst Mayor David Kogon.

Liberal finance critic Kelly Regan says the original budget announcement came without input from those affected and caused unnecessary stress for a lot of people.

“Quite frankly, it became very apparent to everyone there was no consultation for this policy at all,” said Regan. “It was just scrawled on the back of a napkin.”