Quick return to PST/GST system needed

Bruce Ralston calls for a quick switch back to old tax system

To the editor:

On Aug. 26, British Columbians learned they had made history when the results of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) referendum were announced.

It was a resounding defeat of the unfair tax shift onto families and small businesses.

[NDP Leader] Adrian Dix and the New Democrats recognized the HST for what it was from the moment the B.C. Liberals sprung it on the province just weeks after the 2009 election: another tax break for big corporations that shifted the burden onto ordinary, hard-working people and local businesses.

The people of Cariboo-Chilcotin have not been well represented by MLA Donna Barnett, who supported the tax despite the fact she knew her constituents didn’t want it. Ms. Barnett won her seat in 2009 by just 88 votes; she must be very concerned that the HST was defeated in her constituency by nearly 20 times that.

Premier Christy Clark says she has a “Plan B” now that the HST has been defeated. We’re yet to see this plan, but one thing is certain: step 1 must be returning to the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) as soon as possible.

The B.C. Liberals are telling us it will take at least 18 months to transition back, but with their damaged credibility, the public is right to be skeptical about the timeline.

The B.C. economy will see increasing uncertainty the longer the HST is left in place. Premier Clark needs to act fast to minimize the damage and return the province to the PST/GST system as the people have demanded.

 

Bruce Ralston

NDP finance critic