"We are extremely concerned (that) new and far-reaching housing tax increases will not have a positive impact on affordability", said Anne McMullin, president of the Urban Development Institute.
"Budgets are not only about the bottom line, they should be about people. It's about the kind of communities we want and the kind of future we want".
Reaction to Budget 2018 from the opposition Liberals is lukewarm.
"They are literally driving up taxation, " said finance critic Shirley Bond.
"The property they own is going to be worth a lot less than it was before this tax".
The new speculator tax takes effect this fall and will apply to foreign and domestic investors who don't pay income tax in the province.
"Budget 2018 is balanced, with surpluses forecast each year", James said. "We're asking those who benefited from high prices to give a little bit back".
In a series of Twitter messages, University of Victoria economist Lindsay Tedds linked to the task force's letter to Finance Minister Carole James.
It also includes new tax measures "aimed to improve housing affordability".
Easing the financial pinch felt by families was a recurring theme in the first full budget brought in by the NDP since it came to power last summer.
Exemptions will be available for most principal residences, long-term rental properties and certain special cases, so most homeowners in B.C. won't be affected, James said.
The government plan commits $1.6 billion toward affordable housing, maintaining and improving existing social housing, and will help pay for 5,000 new student housing beds at post-secondary institutions.
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Students and young families are some of the budget's primary beneficiaries, said Prof.
Investments to support British Columbia's Indigenous Peoples by increasing housing; bolstering FNHA's work to support mental health and wellness in Indigenous communities; dedicated funds for Indigenous skills training such as computer literacy and safety training; and investments to revitalize connections to Indigenous languages.
People will celebrate that child care expenses no longer amount to rent or mortgage-sized payments, he said. "This is not the direction we were going", Tedds wrote.
Chad Hipolito/CANADIAN PRESS Premier John Horgan arrives at the legislative assembly before Finance Minister Carole James delivers the budget speech at Legislature in Victoria on February 20, 2018.
She criticized the government for not spending more to help Lower Mainland commuters and warned that the province's attempts to cool the housing market will amplify steps the federal government has already taken.
"That is the worst possible idea in a market like Vancouver where you have a tremendous amenity level and it's so hard to build", he said. "That's kind of missing".
"It's time for a different approach, " she said.
The province also moved to clamp down on condo presale flipping - where units are bought and sold many times before construction completes - and to close loopholes allowing foreign buyers to invest through numbered companies and local proxies. It will be replaced with a new payroll tax on employers, although those with payrolls under $500,000 will be exempt.
The province also projected a surplus of C$281 million in 2019-20 and C$284 million in 2020-21 and revised downward the 2017-18 surplus to C$151 million from a previous forecast of C$190 million.
Economic forecasts within the provincial budget expect to see housing starts decline by almost 27 per cent in 2018.
"Our members like to see balanced budgets, especially with capital investments in infrastructure, education, trade, and housing that support many businesses in the province through direct and indirect job creation". "It will lower costs for parents, it will increase the number of childcare spaces, and it will make sure that those spaces meet the highest standards for quality care". "We are taking bold action to change that with Budget 2018 - a budget that works for everyone in B.C". He previously called for an outright ban on foreign property ownership. He dismissed them as "slogans".