May 28, 2015

Quote from the Premier: on continuing to build transit

From the Vancouver Sun:

Clark, who voted Yes, said while it was important to ask people what they thought about the funding source, she added that: “We will find a way to make sure we continue to build transit in the province.”

Remind us: why are we then having a referendum?  And when you come up with a way to make sure we continue to build transit, will we have to have another?

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  1. Christy Clark ran, and won on a ” no new taxes” platform. Unclear why she voted yes. Indeed it is disingenuous.

    Assuming a “no” win, will she raise taxes ? Will she find ways to reduce excessive union power in this province and bring public sector wages in line with private sector wages, down 20-25% when counting layoff risk and cushy benefits ? Will she work with MetroVan majors to institute road tolls, higher land transfer taxes, higher property taxes or higher parking fees ? Or will she just borrow more money, the usual easy way out for governments everywhere ?

  2. Yeah, why waste millions of dollars that could have been put into better transportation on a plebiscite if you’re going to push ahead anyway? Clearly the point was to move ahead on a “no new taxes” basis.

    But here’s the irony. Under the proposed sales tax locals would pay roughly 85% of the total amount collected with the rest paid by people visiting Metro Vancouver from outside the area. If funding is instead found through the existing revenue sources then nearly all of the money will come from local wallets. So a No result will cost the average resident more than a Yes result. Amazing how people continue to vote against their own self interest year after year after year.

    1. Not quite. There is about $5B annual revenue, via various forms of taxes, collected by the various MetroVan municipalities. The crucial overlooked items are:

      a) inefficient spending and excessive wages & benefits, easily reducable with enough political will through outsourcing or wage constrained public sector wage contracts. TransLink cops making over $100,000 a year, or bus drivers making $75,000+ a year or ParksBoard folks making $70,000+ a year cleaning pathways and clearing shrubs .. give me a break .. those are all overpaid positions that should be 20-25% lower given low risk of layoffs, cushy hours, big benefits and pensions !

      b) We can also borrow more money, at 1.5-2.5%, as a subway, like a bridge or tunnel, is an investment that will be here for 100+ years. As blogged/written elsewhere, we need far more RAPID transit, and subways will achieve that.

      c) We can also tax properties more (likely going to happen if transit referendum fails) so that non-residents and affluent immigrants pay more. Far too many folks pay far too little in income taxes here, yet use expensive services such as policing, parks, education or healthcare, yet drive a Bentley or Lexus. I would even support a luxury car tax, say another 5% for any car over $30,000.

      d) We can raise parking fees or introduce road tolls to actually decongest, i.e. have a dis-incentive to use cars.

      All these common sense measures are missing from this band-air non decongestion plan.

      Common sense is not so common.

      Yes to more transit.
      No to a PST increase until the measures above are implemented.

      1. a) if you reduce people’s wages and benefits then you’re doing exactly the same thing as taxing them more. 100% of the costs of this plan are borne by someone living in this region.

        b) borrowed money simply transfers the impact from one generation to the next. Again 100% of the costs are borne locally.

        c) finally something that impacts non-residents and satellite families. I agree wholeheartedly.

        d) parking and road tolls would be a good thing. We’d probably have to accept a 24/7 surveillance state to actually have a fair and relatively low cost collection system and I don’t think Canadians are quite ready to have their lives monitored that closely by government. It would be difficult to get visitors to pay their fair share too.

        So we’re right back where we started: raising property taxes and the mayors refusing to do it because it’ll hurt them politically.

  3. Thomas – Why not bring private sector wages in line with public sector wages and not the other way around? Why the race to the bottom?

    1. Go ahead, Ron. Open your own airline or restaurant or manufacturing firm. Then try to compete in the marketplace.

      Why pay people $75,000 when enough qualified folks for $60,000 show up ?
      Why pay $22/h is enough folks for $17.50 show up ?

      Economics 101 – many politicians and most civil servants have no clue about, as they don’t care where the money comes from. It is very very difficult to sustainable run a profitable enterprise. Go ahead, try it, and pay 20% above market. After while, as the owner, you wonder why.

      Money doesn’t grow on trees. It has to be earned, and in a competitive world, one cannot charge any price for a vehicle, a meal, a can of pop or an airline ticket !

        1. QE = more money can be borrowed at cheap rates. Keeps asset prices, like stocks and real estate UP in value. [That btw is why I invest in rental properties .. see ]

          Politicians hate deflation. Imagine stocks stay flat for 20 years. They couldn’t collect taxes on it. Or imagine a commercial shopping center stays the same value for 20 years. Property taxes would never go up.

          People feel richer when their house goes up 2-4% a year or their RRSP portfolio.

          Few people like falling prices, especially politicians.

      1. I don’t think you get it. How are we constantly hearing from government leaders that there is no inflation and rates stay low while everything in real everyday costs are going up up and up. Food, utilities, housing, etc. Its all being controlled by right wing Neo liberal government corporations who look to control the masses and enrich the 1%. Its have gone way too far. I’m all for capitalism and free enterprise but this is ridiculous, corrupt governments like Harpers who’s only agenda is telling people about personal tax cuts meanwhile the economy sucks:

        Don’t piss on my leg and tell me its raining. Oh and why is Harper now trying to suppress voter turnout? Maybe because the young people are fed up and will vote his corrupt ass out:


        1. Lower taxes is the key difference. Balancing a budget is not that difficult.

          Program spending was indeed far too high even under Harper. They are not really conservative, just by name. They are more like the old Liberals when they were more centrist, under Chretien or Martin. Not like today where I do not even know the difference between NDP and the left leaning federal (or Ontario) Liberals.

          To balance a budget, without spending restraints, one has to just take more from the citizens. The conservatives cut GST 2x and also cut taxes on corporations and TFSAs. Liberals or NDP usually spend more, and tax more to balance the budget. I rather spend my own money, thank you very much, rather than a politicians taking more from me and re-distributiing it. I understand that not all think like that, but enough to keep the economy humming.

          Liberals and NDP re-distribute wealth, from a flat or shrinking pie. Conservatives usually create a bigger economic pie, making everybody better off. Wealth is not finite. It is created. I rather see politicians foster an environment where everybody has more.

  4. Clark is cutting planned bus and HandyDART service increases province wide. So, maybe the biggest developers get their preferred lines if they donate enough to the Libs and everything else withers under cuts

  5. I know I should not say this as it is still early but could Christy be on her way to being BCs worst Premier ever? Glen Clarke will be watching to see if she can top him….Is it something about the last name?

    1. She’s not he brightest bulb in the shop, but she is good looking, positive, promotes BC abroad, promotes LNG, wood exports and universities, keeps taxes low and has a balanced budget. Could be far far worse. Look to Ontario, or soon Alberta how to run a massive deficit, raise taxes and electricity rates amid rising unemployment.

      Cream of the crap.

      1. The BC Liberals have reduced taxes by increasing fees like MSP and from raiding crown corporations like ICBC. Shouldn’t crown corps run like private companies instead of being forced to raise rates to subsidize a government determined to maintain the illusion of low taxes?

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