Editor: Am I confident that TransLink will be more responsible with the 0.5 per cent tax than it has been to date, if the referendum passes? And do I have faith that the 0.5 per cent tax won’t increase to one or two per cent or even more, if the mayors and TransLink discover that 0.5 per cent isn’t enough? Definitely not.
The amount of waste that TransLink is responsible for is atrocious. For example, having six boards of directors, paying two CEOs exorbitant salaries, a million here, half a million there and on and on. TransLink is a bottomless pit that is already raking in our tax dollars from gasoline, parking, property taxes and Hydro levies.
Incidentally, the estimates for the two most expensive parts of the project (for Surrey LRT and the Vancouver Broadway subway) were done several years ago. One engineer said it might go up or down 15 per cent, but he didn’t think it would double or triple. How reassuring. How many things go down in price? Nothing that I know of.
If you have a hole in a bucket, the common sense approach is to repair it before you add any more water. Before we are asked to give any more money to a badly-broken system such as TransLink, there needs to be a major reduction of waste and some definite accountability in place.
This proposed tax increase might be a drop in the bucket for the mayors, many of whom earn six-figure salaries, but it’s a different matter for low-income families and seniors.
If the ‘yes’ vote wins, my concern is that they will soon say that 0.5 per cent isn’t enough, because of unforeseen expenses or increased prices since previous estimates were done. This tax will keep escalating on a regular basis for the rest of our lives. I will be voting ‘no’ until they stop wasting our money and give us more information about possible future increases in this tax. Better yet, let the BC government use some of its $879 million surplus to fund it.