No Metro Vancouver mayors sign tax-control pledges

City council challengers more likely than incumbents to sign 'contract' to limit property taxes

No sitting mayors in the Lower Mainland have signed a pledge to keep a lid on property taxes being pushed by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

The organization on Monday released a list of 86 council candidates across B.C. who have signed its “contract with taxpayers” with less than two weeks left in the campaign.

Most are challengers, often right-of-centre independents or slate members.

Langley Township, where three incumbent councillors seeking re-election have signed, is one of the few places pledge advocates have made inroads with local politicians who are already governing.

In Vancouver, four Non-Partisan Association candidates for council are among the six candidates who signed, but none yet hold a council seat.

Three signed in Surrey – two mayoral candidates hoping to topple sitting Mayor Dianne Watts and one independent council candidate.

Five members of the right-of-centre Team Burnaby slate have also signed, including the mayoral candidate who hopes to defeat long-serving Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan.

The CTF “contract” requires those signing to pass a bylaw imposing a 15 per cent council pay cut if property taxes are raised beyond the rate of inflation without a referendum.

Several Metro Vancouver-area incumbents said they wouldn’t sign because it could tie councils’ hands in responding to future financial challenges.

Watts previously said she might sign the contract – if it was revised to reflect how senior government downloading hits city budgets.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has also urged civic leaders to pledge to hold spending growth to the combined rise in population and inflation and narrow the gap between business and residential tax rates.

About 30 candidates have taken that pledge and only a handful are incumbents.