B.C. prepares for HST decision

Former Alberta finance minister Jim Dinning

Jim Dinning admits that it’s ironic for a former Alberta finance minister to be asked to weigh the merits of B.C.’s two choices for sales taxes.

But now out of politics and serving as chancellor of the University of Calgary, Dinning is chairing an independent review panel to compare the harmonized sales tax with B.C.’s former provincial sales tax before a referendum on the HST later this year.

Also named to the panel are former B.C. auditor-general George Morfitt, Simon Fraser University professor John Richards and Tracie Redies, CEO of Coast Capital Savings.

Their report is due April 1, and will make no recommendation on either the HST or the PST, Dinning told Black Press.

“Polling showed that people don’t feel they have all the facts they need, and they’re looking for an independent source rather than just the government information source,” he said.

The Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation is making a recommendation to voters: keep the HST and demand a lower rate to reflect the broader base of the new sales tax.

Gregory Thomas, the CTF’s communications director for B.C., says voting “no” in the referendum would kill off the “63-year-old relic” of the PST. He argues that the federal government reduced the Goods and Services Tax from seven to five per cent, and B.C. could do the same.

“Here in B.C. the government could have introduced the HST at a lower rate,” Thomas said. “Instead they chose to create an expensive and confusing rat’s maze of exemptions, credits and loopholes for special interests, and pay for it by charging ordinary taxpayers an exorbitant seven-per-cent HST rate.”

Thomas noted that if the HST rate were lowered, credits paid to a million low-income B.C. residents would also come down.

For special interests, he cited home builders, who benefit from HST credits and also successfully lobbied the province to raise the exemption for new home construction to $525,000. Resale housing is not subject to HST.

The B.C. government also launched a new website at www.hstinbc.ca to offer videos and answers to frequently asked questions about the change from PST to GST.

Just Posted

Province delivers notice of unauthorized occupation to Saanich tent city Camp Namegans

A Ministry of Transportation liaison to Camp Namegans delivered a “notice of… Continue reading

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

LETTERS: It’s time to stop looking for excuses

Re: Proposed fishing restrictions will be devastating: officials I understand how those… Continue reading

UPDATE: Woman hit by car in parking lot 93 years old

Driver of sedan backs into older adult walking through lot

Delivery truck downs power lines in Sidney

A tractor trailer delivering eggs clipped a low-hanging wire on Second St.… Continue reading

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Special forces unit to monitor Hells Angels ride on Vancouver Island

Enforcement unit says motorcycle club to hold 35th anniversary ride in Nanaimo

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Saanich Police investigate store robbery

Store video captures image of suspect

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read