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NEWS RELEASE · 30th June 2010
Ministry of Finance
An opinion editorial released today by Bill Vander Zalm contained misleading statements and factual errors. Here are the facts regarding his 10 point list.

1. "It is a cruel tax that will hurt low-income, fixed-income, students, working families and seniors the most".

WRONG: Under the HST there will be a generous B.C. HST tax credit of up to $230 per person for British Columbians with low and modest incomes. Studies including those done by SFU Economist Jon Kesselman, the Fraser Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives have shown low income British Columbians come out ahead under the HST.

2. "It will kill jobs and damage economic activity".

WRONG: Leading economists strongly support the implementation of the HST as they believe it will promote investment, jobs and higher wages. Noted economist Jack Mintz has said that this move alone will create over 113,000 jobs and over $11.5 billion in new investment.

3. "It eliminates fees paid to business to collect the PST. HST must be collected for free".

MISLEADING: The fee was to compensate them for the cost associated with collecting, remitting and filling out PST forms. There will no longer be PST, which saves businesses time and an estimated $150 million per year in administrative costs, not to mention the further $1.9 billion in tax savings.

4. "It will drive up inflation as people demand higher wages".

MISLEADING: The Bank of Canada, TD Economics and economists have all said that harmonization will likely lead to a small one-time increase in the Consumer Price Index.

5. "It will push the economy underground".

MISLEADING: He is alleging businesses will break the law and in the process reject the input tax credits they would otherwise be able to claim.

6. "It will make B.C. less competitive".

WRONG: Most B.C. businesses will actually become more competitive with Alberta because they will now be able to receive a tax credit on all the HST paid on business inputs, as Alberta companies already do under the GST. Asian nations like China, Japan and South Korea already have an HST-style Value-Added Tax - and both are higher than B.C.'s. The fact is, moving to the HST will mean a 40-per cent reduction in the effective tax rate on new investment - creating jobs and bringing more business to B.C.

7. "It will cost more to administer".

WRONG: The HST will save the provincial government $30 million in administrative costs and save business $150 million. It's simpler, and ultimately less expensive, to administer one tax rather than two.

8. "The federal government will take $250 million per year from B.C. in additional income taxes for costs previously considered a "write off" under PST, which will now become taxable under HST. So much for the benevolence of their $1.6-billion transition "gift"-not a bad rate of interest."

MISLEADING: Business will only pay more income tax if they are making more money. The assumption being made is that businesses will not reinvest their PST savings, nor will they pass them onto consumers. The economic studies that have been done simply do not support that assumption. Evidence from the Atlantic provinces has shown that the hidden tax is removed very quickly, with the majority of the savings passed through to consumers in the first year.

9. "The HST is more complex. The HST agreement has 16 pages of calculus formulas outlining the revenue sharing with B.C. that will require math geniuses or computers (or both) to figure out. And the federal government will do the calculating."

WRONG: The formulas are only relevant to the federal and provincial governments to determine provincial shares of HST, and this is far simpler and cheaper for business than having them track the tax paid. In fact, the HST will simplify the work businesses need to do and will save them $150 million annually.

10. "It will destroy B.C.'s sovereignty over provincial taxation. Ottawa will now set the rates, determine our exemptions and will calculate and distribute the revenues to B.C. The HST is as much a power grab by Ottawa as it is a money grab by the Liberals. B.C. does not need to give away control of our taxes in order to reform them. That is a false choice, and one the B.C. government wants to avoid talking about at all costs."

WRONG: British Columbia has far more flexibility under the HST than was previously available. We can set our own tax rate, at 12 per cent the lowest in the country, select our own point-of sale rebates such as the rebate for motor fuel, design our own BC HST credit for those with low and modest incomes, design our new housing rebate and establish the rebates percentages for schools, universities, colleges, municipalities, eligible not-for profits and registered charities to ensure that, on average, they pay no more provincial tax under HST than they paid in PST.
Name your Poison.
Comment by Brad Opheim on 10th July 2010
The government just announced the current deficit at 1.5 billion dollars give or take, and that is on top of the current debt.
Now is doesn't matter if you like/dislike the HST, just know the government has to come up with 1.5 billion to cover this years deficit and you know it's going to come out of our pockets in one form or another. If its not HST then it will be a general PST increase say from 7 to 9 %. Or how about an income tax increase, and business tax increase, and fuel/tobacco/alcohol tax increases. Or maybe you would prefer more cuts to education and/or healthcare?
No one wants to pay more tax, especially to a government , but there is a huge debt and it's time to pay the piper. What is really sad is how short peoples memories are as Bill Vanderscam looks like some kind of "white knight", instead of the guy that destroyed the socreds and was run out of office under a cloud of scandal and corruption. Does "Fantasy Gardens" & "Faye Leung" ring a bell ?
Anyway my point is we are going to pay, and the Liberals will probably lose the next election because of voter backlash.

The sad part is the NDP will leave the tax in place ,citing costs/difficulties in removing it, just like when the feds brought in the GST. The "tax and spend" philosophy of the NDP will make us all yern for the "Campbell years". Of course this is just my prediction, because we never make the same mistake twice, and follow Bill V's judgement would we???

If you see it.....don't believe it'''''
Comment by Larry Walker on 3rd July 2010
If I didn't know better, I would say this article
is just another piece of BC government advertising. If it looks like a skunk and it smells like a can bet your last dollar it is a skunk (that is if you have a dollar left after paying all these new taxes in BC)

I guess shopping in Alberta or the USA ain't all that bad after all.