Mayor weighs in on HST debate

A letter to the editor for July 20 from Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft on the HST debate.

The rhetoric that the HST in B.C. will create 113,000 jobs and that it is the best thing we can do to improve the B.C. economy has been shifted to “it’s too expensive and complicated to go back” and it may contribute to marginal growth.

The Fight HST campaign may be emotional, but considering the $250,000 in funding versus the more than $5 million in “stick ads” and other pro-HST propaganda from the province and the $250,000 in government funding for the “Smart Tax Alliance” along with the undisclosed membership and financial contribution towards the “Smart Tax Alliance” — emotion, grass roots efforts and hopefully common sense are all the Yes to Extinguish the HST campaign has going for it compared to the well-funded other side.

The HST is not good for all businesses, and not good for all regions of B.C. It might be easy for a university professor or economics expert to explain what is the best taxation system for an entire province in theoretical terms, but these calculations do not consider all industries and all people — and theory does not always translate into reality.

The same experts that suggest that the HST is the best system, were opposed to the federal government lowering the GST, and likely also question the logic of the proposed decrease in the HST to 10 per cent.

The two biggest pieces of un-truth relating to the HST are that the PST would be applied to everything the HST is if it is re-instated, and that if you vote in favour of the HST it will be decreased to 10 per cent.

The question on the referendum is to return to the previous tax system in place on June 30, 2010.

If our provincial government were to choose to expand the scope of the PST tax, then they would need to pass legislation to do this, and hopefully from their experience on the HST, they would choose to consult the public and listen before any moves in this direction were attempted.

Voting to keep the HST does not mean it will be lowered. Our government has proposed or promised to lower the tax over several years, however.

Gerry Taft,

Mayor of Invermere