HST OP-ED: HST a better long-term choice

Ida Chong weighs in on the HST

The HST has been a very contentious issue for British Columbians and I’ve spoken with many Oak Bay-Gordon Head residents who have been upset or confused by our government’s decision to harmonize sales taxes. I understand these concerns, but believe strongly that the HST will lead to increased economic growth, increased competitiveness and job creation.

Our government recently engaged in a series of tele-town halls and heard from more than 275,000 British Columbians on how we could improve the HST. We heard from the public that they were dissatisfied with the way this tax was introduced and they felt the HST was hurting families and low-income seniors disproportionately.

We listened and we have committed that if B.C. residents vote in favour of retaining the HST, we will reduce the tax from 12 per cent to 10 per cent. The provincial portion of the HST would be reduced from seven to six per cent on July 1, 2012.  A further reduction, to five per cent, would take place on July 1, 2014.

Under a 10-per-cent HST, B.C. families will, on average, be roughly $120 better off on their routine expenditures than they were under the combined PST-GST system.

In addition, one-time transition payments this year will help families and low- to modest-income seniors as we move towards those rate reductions. Families with children under 18 will receive an additional $175 HST transition payment for each child, single seniors with incomes up to $40,000 will receive $175, and senior couples with family incomes up to $40,000 will receive $350.

We introduced the HST for several reasons, but most important was the benefit the HST has on B.C.’s economy. Under the PST, businesses paid sales tax on many of their input costs and passed those costs on to consumers in the form of higher prices.

I’ve spoken with many business owners who have told me they’ve been able to renovate their businesses, hire more staff and lower prices thanks to these HST savings. All of those benefits help to strengthen our economy and create the jobs B.C. families depend on.

The HST is a better and simpler tax than the PST-GST. It’s easier to administer, helps to create jobs and expands the economy. Returning to the PST will put a $3-billion hole in the provincial budget over the fiscal plan, which will impact our ability to fund programs, return to fiscal stability and balance budgets.

I encourage you to please vote “no” in the upcoming referendum to preserve the HST, rather than returning to the inefficient and expensive PST-GST system.

Ida Chong is the Liberal MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

Just Posted

Easter Seal’s Drop Zone gives participants chance to rappel down 13-storey Victoria building

Event supports Easter Seal’s services, specifically their camp in Shawnigan

Tuesday will be mainly cloudy

Plus your weekly forecast

Tackling ‘one fear after another:’ ‘Spirit Orca’ swimmers ready for next challenge

Victoria swimmers with developmental disabilities preparing for ocean relay in Great Bear Rainforest

Oak Bay mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Jury to make recommendations based on death of Elliot Eurchuk, 16

Derelict trimaran removed from Oak Bay waters

Boat has been aground near Oak Bay Marina for over five months

WATCH: Barbers battle it out in Victoria

‘Barber Battle’ saw stylists and barbers from across North America go head-to-head

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Most Read