This spring’s mail-in plebiscite will essentially ask Metro Vancouver voters if they’re willing to pay $250 million more in sales taxes each year to fund the $7.5 billion expanded transit system proposed by a council of the region’s mayors.
state of municipal finances in metro vancouver
The City of Vancouver is the only municipality in B.C. that can directly take on debt without permission from the provincial and regional governments. Perhaps not surprisingly, it is also the only municipality in the Metro region with liabilities (debt, employee pension obligations, etc) consistently greater than financial assets (cash, investments, etc).
Asking for more money is common among municipal officials. Despite soaring transfers from higher level governments, municipalities repeatedly claim they need more because their revenue sources lack growth potential.