Premier’s income tax cuts don’t stack up with demand for property tax hikes to fund public transit

The Translink Mayor’s Council is in an in camera session today, presumably wrestling with the province’s demand that municipalities fund Translink’s share of the Evergreen Line with a significant hike in property taxes.

Municipal leaders showed their intolerance for tax hikes yesterday when they gave the proposed Metro Vancouver budget — up more than five percent — a rough ride.

The province’s demand that property taxes be lifted contrasts sharply with the Premier’s announcement last night that he will cut personal income taxes 15 percent in January, generating a windfall of $248 million for families earning over $70,000.

In fact, all of the municipal share for Evergreen and proposed North Fraser Perimeter Road work would come from property taxes because there’s no room within the legislative cap for the traditional mix of property tax, gas tax and fare increases.

The mayors have rejected a property tax hike, insisting that the province put new funding sources on the table like a vehicle levy — now termed a transit improvement fee — or a share of carbon tax. Neither of those options could be designed, passed through public review and implemented in time for the Evergreen deadline.

So does the Premier have a Plan B, as some elected officials have warned? If so, it’s hard to imagine what it could be.