COLUMN: Funding needs future thinking too

So Metro Vancouver mayors have collectively decided that yet again, property taxes in those member municipalities will go up, as will another levy on gasoline.

Don’t you think they’d get it … that people are sick and tired of more taxes? Don’t you think they could have been a little more innovative in their revenue generation ideas?

For instance, why not create a lottery that raises funds on an ongoing basis?  At least then a few of us might be winners.

Or why not jointly get together with a private developer and build a huge central casino. We all know how much money they generate, and the source would be ongoing.

Instead they whack property owners, though they suggest it will only be for a couple of years. Uh huh. How often have we heard that?

Remember income tax … it was imposed as a temporary solution to pay off war debt. That started at the end of the First World War, close to 100 years ago. We are still paying the “temporary” tax, and I’m sure we will, in perpetuity.

Thankfully so far, Metro Vancouver and its free-spending mayors end at the Abbotsford boundary with Langley. Unfortunately, any truck that’s fueled within Metro will be adding to its cost charges, any deliveries of food, product and services to this community and all parts east of here. So like it or not, we will be helping pay for existing and expanded transit services within Greater Vancouver.

I can’t fault the mayors for looking and planning for the future. But they need to apply their ‘visionary’ thinking beyond generating revenues from existing sources. If they want to create a people-moving future, then perhaps they should also create a money-moving fund that doesn’t involve ever-increasing taxes on an already overburdened electorate.

I can’t disagree that getting people out of cars and on to transit has environmental benefit, but continually increasing the cost of fuel is but a temporary fix that will impact everyone in the province, not just those who need or use transit. And if we out here in the “City in the Country” are concerned, just ask someone who lives in Aldergrove, who will have to pay all those taxes and gasoline surcharges, yet will likely not see a SkyTrain or light rail or any other form of ‘rapid’ transit for decades.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t mind contributing a buck or two a week to buy a lottery ticket that offers a million-dollar windfall. That way, I’d have the option of contributing, and for my buck I’d at least have a finger-crossed chance of a benefit.

Paying at the pump to subsidize transit, regardless of the funding route, when there is no opportunity or provision for a benefit, is no more or no less than a penalty for something I have no choice but to accept.

Unfortunately, though each and every one of us will pay more, thanks to surcharges (small though they may be) on grocery products and everything else trucked out here, I’m not certain there’s anything we can do about it short of ensuring we never join Metro Vancouver.

At this point there is little central and eastern Valley folk can do about the situation. That will be up to the voters of those mayors and councils to determine on Nov. 19. And that brings me to the acknowledgement that, in fairness to all other contestants in the Abbotsford municipal elections, this is my last column until after that date.

markrushton@abbynews.com