March 11, 2015

What Works: Advice for the Yes side

From Pat Gooch, PT reader:

I have been following your blog for awhile and have seen you speak a few times as well. I am trying to help as much as I can for the YES side of the transit referendum.  I want to write to you to let you know what I am finding effective.
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I notice that there are YES staff at transit stations lately.  Great!  I have also witnessed some NO voters yelling about Translink’s accountability to the YES staff.  In these cases,  I approach and say to the staff, “I want to vote yes because the ballot includes public reporting and independent audits.  The question makes it clear that the funds are used only for transit, not going to general revenue.  If I don’t vote yes, Translink will just stay the way they are”.  I have done this four times, and in each case, the NO person has asked for more information about the accountability aspect of the referendum question.  In each case they have switched from dogmatic yelling to curiosity and genuine questioning.  Great!
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Anyway, I thought you might be interested to know because I think this is a good angle to use to convince people to vote YES. I will continue my ‘covert ops’ whenever I see the YES staff being yelled at by NO voters.
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Comments

  1. Likewise one huge thing I’ve found to be effective is pointing out that, as a sales tax, visitors to the region will be contributing too. Anything that pulls from property or income taxes is paid entirely by those of us who live here, while a sales tax is charged to everyone who visits here too. All those stores lining Gastown selling ‘I <3 Vancouver' shirts and 'Grizzly Bears In A Can' will be helping pay for our transportation future, rather than 'us locals' paying the full bill.

    1. It is not so simple. Hotels, restaurants, trinket stores pay property taxes or corporate taxes etc. .. and employ employees and pay (directly or indirectly) CPP, EI, income taxes, etc. … so with a PST increase some of that other tax revenue will go down.

      Personally I think generally speaking PST and GST is far too low in Canada, but if they increased we’d need to lower income taxes in return as those are far too high. We buy too much junk, much of it imported, and with a higher PST or GST we’d use less of it and recycle more.

      I also think that federal taxes are far too high and that cities get not enough revenue for social services such as homelessness, roads, transit, parks etc .. As such taxes need to shift from feds to cities .. but not increased overall as they are too high overall already.

      Also, as pointed out elsewhere wealthy immigrants, especially those that do not work here or pay little, if any, income taxes and those that are just here to collect a passport (so called “fake Canadians”) pay far too little in property taxes or land transfer taxes for the policing, road, transit, social, healthcare and education services they consume.

      As such, a good overall debate about taxation levels i useful.