It is not often I see a Press Release on a Sunday lunch time. It is reproduced entire below. The retailers were getting concerned at the potential for all sorts of complexity to be introduced by the new “Metro Congestion Improvement Tax”. Those fears can now be laid to rest. Good.
February 1, 2015
Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation Welcomes Minister Stone’s Letter on Collection of Metro Congestion Improvement Tax
Vancouver, B.C. – The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation welcomes Minister Stone’s letter, received last night, regarding collection of the Metro Congestion Improvement Tax (MCIT).
Minister Stone’s letter confirms the MCIT, which will fund new transit and road improvements in the mayors’ Plan, will be harmonized with the existing Provincial Sales Tax.
“We’re pleased with the announcement that they are harmonizing the collection of the MCIT with the existing PST. This will address concerns that the retail sector and others had, and eliminate any further confusion about exemptions and administration of the tax,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, chair of the Mayors’ Council. “This clarity is critical for a ‘yes’ vote. ‘No’ is not an option. We need these improvements to prepare for one million more residents.”
Of note in Minister Stone’s letter:
- The Province reiterated that revenues collected for transit will be subject to independent audits and annual reviews.
- The Province has confirmed that the tax base for the MCIT will mirror the PST tax base.
Mayor Robertson confirmed that the Mayors would not be seeking additional exemptions:
“Application of the PST to the tax base has always remained a provincial responsibility and this harmonization provides seamless administration. We want to ensure that simplicity continues so we will not be requesting any further exemptions.”
This ensures that essential items such as groceries, children’s clothing, transportation expenses, prescription medication and other basic goods and services will be exempt from the tax.
“Residents and businesses can now vote ‘yes’ for the plan for better transit knowing that the MCIT will be collected in the most efficient and fair way possible,” added Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner, vice chair of the Mayors’ Council. “Thanks to the this decision, voters can be confident that a 0.5% regional increase to the existing PST is fair and will only cost the average household 35 cents a day for more buses, better roads and more transit options.”
The move will ensure the economic efficiency of the tax, which is critical to supporting the integrated economic development strategy supported by the Mayors’ Council plan, a vision that includes consideration of the importance of goods movement.
Minister Stone’s letter to MC.Feb1-15