To the editor:
With the harmonized sales tax (HST) referendum decision now just weeks away, British Columbians are faced with a unique and historic decision, a choice of whether they want to pay less or more tax.
It’s a choice that will affect each and every family, business and bank account across the province, and represents one of the most important public decisions in B.C.’s recent history.
It would be easy for me to simply stay out of the HST debate. After all, the move to harmonize was a provincial initiative, not a federal one. Added to that is the anger felt by many about the way the province went about implementing it.
Gordon Campbell, who was a key player in turning B.C.’s economy around several years ago, is the first to admit the public communication side of the HST was not conducted well.
So you may ask, why am I commenting?
Many people have been asking for my perspective on the HST, especially as a former provincial finance minister who lowered taxes. I decided that the issue is far too important to stay silent on, especially with so many British Columbians angry about it.
I firmly believe that a decision of this importance should be based on cold, hard facts—not raw emotion.
The economic reality is this: Individuals and families will be better off by having the HST in place as recently amended by Premier Christy Clark.
British Columbians need to understand the real ramifications of bringing back an old, antiquated tax system. There is too much at stake for B.C. families and businesses to risk voting for a higher, 12 per cent PST/GST.
Bottom line: The HST benefits all British Columbians:
· The HST will drop two points to 10 per cent
· The average B.C. family will save $120 more a year
· Children and seniors will receive $175 transition cheques
· Rebate payments of up to $230 will be put into the hands of lower-income families
· 24,400 new jobs will be created by the end of the decade.
Reverting back to the PST/GST system would take away every one of these personal benefits. It would hurt B.C.’s economy and leave less money in the wallet of every B.C. family.
Voting to return to the PST-GST is a giant step backward that B.C. residents will have to bear for years to come.
Thank you for giving this your thoughtful consideration, even though you may be one of the many who is upset with the situation.
As someone who loves this beautiful province, I simply want what is best for our future and for our children’s future. Whichever way you decide to vote, I hope this will also be your guiding motivation.