Council revs up with fuel tax

Yukon’s municipal governments must discuss sharing the territory’s gas tax revenues, say city councillors.

Yukon’s municipal governments must discuss sharing the territory’s gas tax revenues, say city councillors.

And, even though Premier Dennis Fentie has effectively nixed their idea of raising fuel revenues by one cent and giving the money to Yukon communities, municipal officials should talk about it anyway, said councillor Florence Roberts.

“I’d like to see this discussion go forward to the Association of Yukon Communities even though the premier has said no already,” said Roberts.

After all, raising the fuel tax and giving it to cities and towns is not a new idea, she said.

In Vancouver, motorists are hit with an extra 12 cents at the pumps.

In Victoria, it’s 3.5 cents per litre.

“It’s not inconceivable that it could be done here,” said Roberts.

Last week, a motion to discuss a fuel tax hike at the Association of Yukon Communities’ general meeting was brought before council.

The proposed hike would be one cent per litre on gasoline and diesel and would amount to an extra $900,000 for Yukon municipalities.

The government will not be raising taxes, said Fentie last week.

The government would rather see more homes built and an increase in the number of taxpayers, not more new taxes, said Fentie.

The city should come up with a plan before going with hat in hand to the premier’s office for more money, said councillor Doug Graham.

Whitehorse has already received a lot of money from other levels of government and hasn’t spent it wisely; therefore, if it wants more cash it should show up with a plan on exactly how it wants to use it, said Graham.

And, if the city is serious about a fuel tax it should ask for a larger chunk because Whitehorse’s estimated $400,000 share of the proposed tax won’t cut it, he added.

“We really don’t have a long-term strategy for transit,” said Graham.

“Without some kind of long-term strategy in place it’s just saying, ‘Give us $400,000 and we’ll figure out what to do with it.’

“We’ve gotten lots of other money from the Yukon government and we haven’t spent that well.”

Councillor Jan Stick said she’d at least like to see the idea get a fair shake in a discussion with other municipal councils in the territory.

“I’m going to support this because I think a discussion needs to happen,” she said.

Councillor Dave Stockdale is also on board.

“I will support it to take it forward,” he said.

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