Everyone in British Columbia, Canada remembers the day on July 1, 2010 when Harmonized Sales Tax replaced PST and GST. The buzz heard around the province was whispers of the negative repercussions it will have on everyone from small businesses to the average households.
Due to the change of the HST tax of 12% the cost of new home ownership increased significantly in British Columbia. As well, where PST was only applicable to goods, HST is now applicable to both goods and services. The large impact was starting to be reflected in average household receipts and civilians were starting to feel the pressure of the government’s drastic change.
In order to compensate the province and ‘keep the peace’ the BC Legislature passed a motion on May 31, 2011 committing to the province to reduce the B.C. portion of the HST from 12% to 10% by July 1, 2014. Most families are under the impression if you vote ‘no’ to extinguishing the HST in the up and coming referendum the government is going to make this two percent adjustment the following day. Don’t be mislead, it’s only one percent per year.
However, the province is providing a one-time transaction payment of $175 per child to families that have dependents less than 18 years of age. As well, seniors will also receive a one-time payment of $175. If voters decide to continue on with the HST this sum is expected to be paid out by the end of the year.
The Independent Panel estimated that, on average, harmonization costs B.C. families $350 more per year on their typical expenditures. By reducing the HST rate to 10 per cent, the $350 average cost now becomes a $120 average benefit for B.C. families.
HST is estimated to create almost 600,000 new jobs over the next 10 years and in another report it is predicted that by 2020 the BC economy will be $2.5 billion larger than it would be under PST.
British Columbians have a very important decision to make on July 22. The HST referendum is a chance for you to make a decision that will impact B.C. for years to come. What will you vote? Will you vote to keep the HST and endure the slow transition of adjusting the 12% to reflect 10% or will you revert to our old ways?
Vote ’No’ to keep HST or ‘Yes’ for GST/PST
HST Referendum Details British Columbians will be voting in a mail-in referendum on the HST. Ballots will be mailed in June and must be returned to Elections B.C. or a Service B.C. office by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, July 22, 2011.