Who you are will determine how you vote on HST

Dear editor,
How you mark your HST ballot has more to do with who you are than with any of the “facts” about the HST.
If you are a business owner who sells a product or service which attracted GST and PST before last July, and if you now find that your accounting work is simpler with one tax rather than two, you may be in favour of the HST.

Dear editor,How you mark your HST ballot has more to do with who you are than with any of the “facts” about the HST.If you are a business owner who sells a product or service which attracted GST and PST before last July, and if you now find that your accounting work is simpler with one tax rather than two, you may be in favour of the HST. On the other hand, at the end of the work day, when you go home and pay an additional seven per cent for goods and services which were previously exempt from the PST, you may decide that the HST is not an improvement.If you are a business owner who sells a product or service which did NOT attract the PST before last July, and you must now charge your customers an additional seven per cent on such things as restaurant meals, used clothing, home renovations and veterinary services, then you may be opposed to the HST.There are no “input tax credits” on basic foods or labour used in making restaurant meals, so the cost to those businesses is significant. It appears that businesses like these are down about seven per cent as a direct result of the HST. To add insult to injury, you go home and pay an additional seven per cent for goods and services which were previously exempt from the PST.If you are an owner or stockholder of a business that manufactures a product which attracted GST and PST before last July, and if you now discover that you have been allowed an “input tax credit” on some equipment and overheads, you need to create your product so that your product is now cheaper to manufacture, then you may love the HST!At the end of your work day, however, you still go home and pay an additional seven per cent for goods and services which were previously exempt from the PST. Of course, being the owner or stockholder in a manufacturing company, you may be earning a significantly higher income than other members of the community and may not notice the difference.If you are employed, unemployed, retired or a student instead of a business owner or stockholder, then you are simply paying more for some goods and services than you did before last July. There are some who say, “I don’t mind paying taxes. That’s how we pay for services. Taxes are good!”I encourage those people to research the current corporate tax rate. When the HST was brought in last July, corporations were allowed to pay less tax and taxpayers were required to pay more. If corporations were taxed at the same rate on their income as individuals are, our government would have no difficulty meeting its obligations.The wealthy can afford to pay an additional seven per cent to eat out, to pay for their phone and Internet, to buy school supplies for their kids and send them off to summer camps, to update their kitchen counters and purchase trendy new stainless steel appliances.The poor also spend an extra seven per cent on those items (if they can afford them) — and families earning less than $10,000 will get a rebate based on their income — but they still have to come up with the additional seven per cent at the till. For a list of goods and services previously exempt from the PST, go to http://voteyesbc.caIf you care about the health and welfare of ordinary members of our society, and if you do not depend for your livelihood on the profits you are making from corporate income and/or dividends, then you are most likely to vote YES to sack the HST.You can still order a ballot until July 22 by phoning 1-800-661-8683 or 1-888-541-1124.Kathryn Askew,Courtenay

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