When new taxes, however small, are proposed, the public is often left unaware about what the true costs of such taxes can be. When a notoriously wasteful Canadian government agency, TransLink, proposed a 0.5 percent sales tax on transportation to “reduce traffic” for the Lower Mainland, the No TransLink Tax campaign and Atlas Network partner Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) fought back to expose the problems with this largely flawed plan. It calculated the costs, losses, and wasteful nature of the agency and built a successful campaign to demonstrate those findings to the public, which voted against the tax.
“Our campaign didn’t have millions of taxpayer dollars or fancy CEOs committing their groups to our cause — we had everyday taxpayers who simply believe TransLink wastes too much of our money to be trusted with any more of it,” CTF B.C. director and No Translink Tax spokesperson Jordan Bateman wrote. “This is a win for all of us.”
CTF’s educational efforts relied solely on donors and cost only $39,687.95. The pro-TransLink tax side spent at least $6.7 million of taxpayer money to campaign for the passage of the tax.
“The YES side tried everything — spending millions in taxpayer money, crafting rules to favour their side, putting an ad on the ballot itself, and using their political offices to try and quash any dissent,” Bateman said. “They had big business, big government, big labour, big environment and big money. But they didn’t have the people — and this victory belongs to those everyday taxpayers who volunteered their time, spoke with their friends and neighbours, worked social media, made their own signs, and chipped in a few dollars to help us. They deserve better from the leadership of this region, and they let their voice be heard with their ballot.”
CTF will continue to hold the poorly run TransLink agency accountable to the public for its actions, and call for real change at the agency — including more transparent oversight and better management.
Visit the No TransLink Tax campaign website.