OUR VIEW: HST rejection only a small victory

The tribe has spoken and the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) was voted off the island of B.C. taxation with the unpopular tax being defeated by 54.73 per cent of eligible voters.

The tribe has spoken and the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) was voted off the island of B.C. taxation with the unpopular tax being defeated by 54.73 per cent of eligible voters.

In the Boundary-Similkameen region, the numbers were slightly higher, with 59.48 per cent voting to extinguish the tax and 40.52 per cent voting to keep it – 16,272 valid votes were counted.

The tax has been controversial and polarizing ever since former Premier Gordon Campbell, Finance Minister Colin Hansen and the B.C. Liberals introduced the tax in 2009 – after promising not to in their election campaign months previous.

Current Premier Christy Clark vows to re-implement the old tax system, which saw provincial and goods and services taxation but there could be more tax increases on the horizon.

Because the HST system has been in use for over a year – it took effect in July of 2010 – it will cost money to switch back to the old tax regime and it doesn’t look like it will come cheap.

Kevin Falcon, the province’s current finance minister, has been quoted as saying the estimated cost of getting rid of the HST will cost approximately $3 billion over the next few years and says the B.C. Liberals will have to borrow to repay a $1.6 billion transition fund to the feds.

He hints that the province will have to curb spending and is eyeing 2013-14 as a time when the budget will be balanced.

Just because the HST was defeated, doesn’t mean that the B.C. Liberals won’t try to increase taxes in other areas.

The HST was expected to bring in an extra $600 million over the next two years but without that revenue and the cost of reverting back to the previous system, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility for the provincial sales tax to increase and the government to make cuts in other areas to account for the HST-extinguishing costs.

While the B.C. Nurses’ Union said that the referendum results show that British Columbians don’t want to be left in the proverbial dark when it comes to the decisions that affect their lives, it expresses concern that there could be health care cuts with the loss of HST-related revenue.

Some people may have gotten their wish with the extinguishing of the HST but you can be sure that the government will find some other way to account for the loss in HST-related revenue.

– Grand Forks Gazette

Just Posted

BM&TS show ‘a tale as old as time’

The theatre group produced Beauty and the Beast.

Video: MP hears pot, pipeline and politics concerns

South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP hosts town hall forum in Penticton

Needles killer frightened many in our town: BC author

Roy Bugera disrupted life in a quiet Vancouver Island village before moving to Arrow Lakes

RCMP investigate stabbing incident

Injuries were non-life threatening, RCMP report

Health Minister says coming changes will make difference in rural communities.

“As a government, Premier Horgan is committed to improving the ambulance service.”

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Pro-Trump protest sign with F-word is OK, court rules

Judges say Ontario man can protest publicly, even using vulgar language

VIDEO: Police officer looking for distracted drivers gets hit by truck

Road safety investigator clipped by trailer while patrolling busy intersection

YVR wants you to help name three new puppies

Say hello to the Vancouver Airport’s new assistance pups

Suspect who attacked autistic man in Ontario could be from B.C.’s south coast: police

29-year-old man was sent to hospital with serious injuries

Privacy watchdog to explore Facebook leak

Canadian expert says his analytics company helped Trump campaign capitalize on private Facebook info

Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle

Ride-hailing company suspends all road-testing of such vehicles in U.S. and Canada

Spring snow melt uncovers dirty needles in B.C. city

Vernon residents are upset with number of needles being found around town with spring melt

Most Read