Voters must realize that TransLink is not on the transit plebiscite

Here’s my second Peak article, and indeed only my second opinion article authored ever.  It also made it into the print edition of The Peak, which can be found at an SFU campus near you!

One thing I’d like to gripe about… I had originally (and correctly) described the new tax as a “0.5 percentage point” increase in PST, which unfortunately the editors changed to “per cent”. Sigh…

Here’s a few other bits and pieces about the plebiscite worth sharing:

Mayor’s Council Website

Price Tags on the Referendum

Daryl’s Blog on the Plebiscite


4 thoughts on “Voters must realize that TransLink is not on the transit plebiscite

  1. So in reporting a 0.5 per cent increase, they’re actually downplaying the change, right? Because 0.5 percentage points translates to a roughly 4 per cent rise? (This is all new to me, and it seems like a few other major news outlets don’t quite understand the math either.) Really great op-ed though! You sound like a pro!

    • Actually, a 0.5 percentage point increase corresponds to a ~7% increase, as (7.5/7.0)=1.0714=7.14%. If it were a 0.5 percent increase, then the new PST rate would be 7.0%*1.005 = 7.0375% or a 0.0375 percentage point increase – which is practically nothing.
      So it’s quite a difference really.
      Thanks for reading!! 🙂

  2. Really Alanna and “doctoreff”, it sounds like you are both trying to ‘muddy the waters’ when you toss around whether the increase is 7.14% or 7.0375%. I would suggest that most people don’t really care. The fact is that, if the ‘Yes’ side prevails, the sales tax will go from 7.0% to 7.5% – end of the mathematical confusion.

    What would be far more interesting would be whether or not when TransLink finds, at some time in the near future, the organization confirms it has no ability whatsoever to estimate its budget, will we be asked to ‘top up’ the then 7.5% sales tax to, say, 8% or 9%. Or, if the ‘No’ side prevails, will the Mayor’s Council take the position that the vote was only a plebiscite, not a referendum, and therefore has no legal implications attached and approach the Liberal government to ignore the voters and implement a 7.5% sales tax anyway?

    • Nobody’s trying to muddy the waters, just trying to clarify an error that happens to be a pet peeve of mine! You are right of course, what’s important is that the PST will be 7.5% within Metro Vancouver. I’m not sure it’s productive to worry about the “slippery slope” to PSTs rising 8% or 9%. That increase to 7.5% should be enough to, in combination with other funding sources, pay for the whole plan. Also, even if the Mayors’ Council did ask to implement it after a “no” vote, I’m, not convinced Christy Clark and the provincial government would agree to do so. Her campaign promise was to hold a referendum for new funding sources, and I’m sure she will stick with it.

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