Bateman, Tieleman to debate TransLink tax

Langley’s chamber of commerce will host a debate on the pros and cons of the proposed new tax to pay for TransLink’s planned improvements.

Although the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce is officially against the planned 0.5 per cent hike to the sales taxes in Metro Vancouver, it will host the pro side as well at the Jan. 20 dinner meeting.

“We want to ensure that folks are aware of both sides of the story,” said chamber executive director Lynn Whitehouse.

The debate, on Tuesday, Jan. 20, will see first an explanation of the plan, followed by a head-to-head debate.

Mike Buda, executive director of the Mayors’ Council, will give an overview of the plan, including how the tax will work and what transit improvements are expected, with a special focus on Langley, said Whitehouse.

Once Buda has given everyone a good grounding in the issue, Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation will represent the no side, while commentator Bill Tieleman will represent the yes side.

Between the issue and the speakers, the chamber is expecting a good turnout at the dinner meeting, said Whitehouse.

The chamber announced recently it is not in favour of the planned tax, but it does feel Langley needs more transit services. The main reason for the chamber’s decision is that it feels the tax might hurt Langley businesses – especially with Abbotsford and the United States close by – and out of a preference for road pricing as a funding source.

Despite already having made its own position known, the chamber members feel it’s their civic responsibility to provide information so people can make an informed decision this spring. A referendum on the proposed transit tax is planned for around March, with a mail-in ballot. The exact date has not been announced.

The chamber dinner will be held at the Cascades Casino with dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. sharp. For tickets call 604-530-6656.

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