August 31, 2012

The Honourable Shirley Bond Carbon Tax Review c/o Tax Policy Branch Ministry of Finance PO Box 9547 Stn Prov Govt Victoria BC V8W 9C5 Dear Minister Bond: Re: Support for the Carbon Tax This letter is to express my strong support for the Carbon Tax during the Public Carbon Tax Review. The Provincial Government has shown global leadership and driven local action through the BC Climate Action Plan. The Carbon Tax, a central component of the Plan, provides a simple yet effective mechanism to ensure the equitable pricing of carbon, allowing individuals and businesses to better manage their own environmental impact. In Vancouver, our Greenest City 2020 Action Plan has many targets that are enabled through the Carbon Tax, and meeting them would be considerably more difficult if it were not in place. If the Provincial Government were to discontinue the Carbon Tax, it would signal to local governments a lack of senior government support for climate leadership in BC, and harm our booming clean technology industry. If we are to continue growing BC’s economy while ensuring we see environmental benefits, the Carbon Tax must remain in place and continue to increase by the current annual increments. Recognizing the challenges faced by BC communities in meeting the provincially legislated carbon targets, the Province should move to transfer an increasing share of Carbon Tax revenues to municipalities for carbon-reducing projects. This would enable local governments to take effective action on climate change, by giving them the tools to invest directly in public transit, renewable district energy, and building efficiency retrofits, among others.

Given the increasing reliance from municipalities on property taxes to deliver carbon-reducing programs — and legislation preventing us from running deficits, even during economic downturns — allowing local governments to invest Carbon Tax revenue ensures we can maintain a fair and equitable tax burden for BC citizens while investing in crucial infrastructure and meeting our essential climate change targets. There is clear support from academia, local government and business for the reinvestment of Carbon Tax revenues into projects that maximize the societal benefits for BC. Metro Vancouver mayors have called for Carbon Tax revenues to be invested directly in public transit. Both the City of Vancouver and the Province have reduced their emissions while seeing increases in population and employment, demonstrating that leadership on climate change goes hand in hand with a healthy economy. In closing, I commend the Province for its action to date to introduce carbon pricing, and support the continued development and evolution of the Carbon Tax. This should include continuing the annual increases and shifting Carbon Tax revenues to local governments for carbon-reducing and climate change adaptation projects. The Province has a compelling opportunity to be a national and international leader, and to lay out a path for an economically strong and environmentally responsible future.
Sincerely,

Gregor Robertson MAYOR