HST makes sense

It was introduced very poorly, but new tax makes life easier for many

The government has been rightly castigated for the unacceptable way in which it introduced the HST, but that does not automatically make it a bad tax. 

Fundamentally, the harmonization transforms the old and messy GST/PST into a full value added tax (VAT), the kind now in place in many countries around the world, including all of Europe, because it is a very efficient tax that achieves the best outcome for the economy as a whole. It has also already been adopted by several other provinces. 

The main disadvantage for the BC population is that the current HST applies to a greater number of items than covered by the GST/PST, so items such as haircuts, restaurant meals, renovations and tourism are more costly than before.

However, it should be noted that with the recently-announced phased reduction of the HST from 12 to 10 per cent, in future many goods and services will be taxed less than under the old system. Also, low income families and individuals will receive $230 each annually and everyone will receive a personal tax income tax reduction as well as a seven per cent credit on their utility bills for residential energy use.

 As to the overall impact of the HST, the recent independent panel on the HST, stated that while the economic benefits had been somewhat overstated by government experts, it nonetheless concluded that: “Virtually all economic analysis finds the HST increases economic growth, productivity, wages and the quality of jobs.” The panel estimates the HST will generate a $1.2 billion increase in B.C. exports and a growth of 24,000 jobs over the next decade, not least because it will make B.C. a more attractive place for the investment needed to create long-term employment in small business enterprises as well as larger companies. 

This will all be lost if the HST is rescinded. Moreover, going back to the GST/PST will be complicated, time consuming and costly if B.C. has to repay the $1.6 billion provided by the federal government for HST implementation.

 The objective balance of the case weighs heavily in favour of maintaining the HST, especially given the recently announced improvements to offset earlier concerns. Indeed, we would be penalizing ourselves and future generations in BC if we dismiss the HST.

 Michael Berry

Qualicum Beach


Just Posted

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Terry Mazzei next to a truck after it was struck by lightning, with him inside, on Wednesday afternoon, June 9. He walked away from the incident without injury and the truck sustained only mild damage; a blown front tire and newly broken gas gauge. (Wendy Mazzei photo)
Nanoose Bay man walks away unscathed after lightning strike

VIDEO: ‘We like to think that his dad was watching over him’

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

This young fledgling white raven was spotted in the Coombs area on May 16. (Mike Yip photo)
Expert says 2 sets of parents producing rare white ravens in mid-Island area

One of the iconic birds is currently recovering at wildlife centre after being rescued

Flowers planted along Highway 19 in downtown Parksville. (Submitted photo)
City of Parksville plants more than 15,000 annual bedding plants

Residents encouraged to take flower photos and post to social media

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read