NEWS RELEASE · 5th April 2011
Vander Zalm: BC Government’s so called “Independent Panel on HST” report delayed to avoid becoming federal election issue, so Fight HST releasing its own study.
Former BC premier and Fight HST Leader Bill Vander Zalm says his grassroots volunteer group has completed a comprehensive study on the problems with the Harmonized Sales Tax in BC, elsewhere in Canada and worldwide and is releasing its report today.Vander Zalm says the BC government’s so-called “Independent Panel” was originally scheduled to publish its findings this week, but declined to do so to avoid the HST becoming a significant issue during the federal election.
“Why would a supposedly independent group’s report on the HST not be released as planned - unless the BC government was scared it would become a major issue during this federal election,” Vander Zalm said. “BC voters have consistently been left in the dark about the HST by the BC Liberal government since before the 2009 provincial election when they denied plans to impose it. Now they’re doing it again.”
Vander Zalm says BC voters are preparing for the upcoming June 24 mail-in ballot referendum on extinguishing the HST and need solid information to counter the “disinformation” promoted by the government and their supporters in the big business lobby. He says Fight HST’s study, titled: “HST or PST? The truth about the HST and why returning to the PST is better for BC” is a damning indictment of the harmful effects of the HST on the economy and jobs, and is based on information that is publicly available – but has been completely ignored by the BC government throughout the entire HST debate.
“With the HST, also called a Value Added Tax (VAT), there is a long history going all the way back to 1954 in France and up to the present day in Europe, Canada and around the world. It is easy to trace its damaging effects everywhere it has been implemented. Economies in Europe are teetering on the brink of collapse from excessive taxation and the VAT, which is driving large parts of their economies underground to avoid this tax,” said Vander Zalm.“In Canada the provinces with HST have the highest unemployment, while those without an HST have the lowest – more than half as much in some cases. In BC, unemployment has risen almost a full percentage point since the introduction of the HST, resulting in tens of thousands of job losses. It’s a disaster.”
Vander Zalm says the report shows how the HST in Europe and the Maritimes is responsible for inflation, economic stagnation and an increase in the overall tax burden, including income taxes.
“It is a bad tax system. And any of the touted benefits can easily be achieved without harmonizing our sales taxes with Ottawa. Our report is well researched, and unlike the spurious claims by the pro HST side, it includes references to all sources to support the information contained in it.”
Some of the report’s findings include:
· VAT’s in Europe began at about 6% and now average 20%, with some countries as high as 25%.
· Unemployment in Canadian provinces with the HST range between 8.2% in Ontario and BC to 12.4% in Newfoundland.
· Unemployment in non HST provinces like Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are in the 5% range – over half the rate of some HST provinces.
· The HST will cost BC taxpayers an average of $400-$500 each year for every man, woman and child for a total increased tax burden of $10 billion in just the first 5 years of implementation.
· The HST (VAT) is responsible for shrinking the tax base, increasing government debt, and increasing unemployment.
· The HST is not necessary to exempt businesses from sales taxes or to streamline compliance.
· The HST is “revenue neutral” to government with all extra revenues going to tax refunds for business and none to social programs like health care or education.
· Returning to the PST or a revised form of PST will save BC taxpayers billions of dollars.
· The HST hands control of BC sales taxes to Ottawa.
Vander Zalm says his group will publish its report on its web site, and will begin a viral marketing campaign using email, Twitter, Facebook and other new media to distribute the report throughout the province so British Columbians can read for themselves how bad the tax is.
He says he and Fight HST spokespersons Chris Delaney and Bill Tieleman will make themselves available to explain the report and to field questions from the media in the coming weeks.