Delta South independent MLA Vicki Huntington voted in favour of the amended HST rate in the legislature last week, but it will be up to voters to give the final stamp of approval in a mail-in ballot.
Prior to the vote by MLAs, Huntington told the Optimist it's difficult to predict the result of the referendum.
Saying the plan does shift the tax burden slightly, she added, "There's certainly a large number of people who feel it's a tax worth saving and the problem was it was too high and it should come down a couple of points. Then there are other people who continue to be annoyed about the deceitful way in which it was brought in and the fact with this incentive is over a three-year period, you have no change in the exemptions."
Finance Minister Kevin Falcon announced recently that if British Columbians vote to keep the HST in the referendum, the rate would be cut from 12 to 10 per cent by 2014. Some British Columbians, meanwhile, would receive a one-time "transition" cheque.
After Falcon's announcement, the NDP said it's just an attempt by the Liberals to buy votes.
Families will pay more for many items previously exempt from the PST, noted New Democrat finance critic Bruce Ralston.
"Their claim that it's a choice between 10 and 12 per cent is absolute fabrication and a deliberate misrepresentation of what the HST vote is all about," he said.
"The truth is voters will be voting to get rid of the B.C. Liberals' 12 per cent HST in favour of going back to a fairer system where items such as prepared food, nutritional supplements, basic telephone and cable services and countless other items would only be taxed with a five-per-cent GST."
However, returning to the PST/GST would not necessarily mean bringing back all the old exemptions, Falcon said, noting the government would face an estimated $2.3 billion cost over three years if voters reject the HST.
John Cummins, who was acclaimed as the provincial Conservative Party leader recently, said the government's proposal is bad for business.
"By increasing the corporate tax rate two per cent and delaying the small business tax cut (to offset lowering the HST rate), the Liberals are hurting our economy -- and in turn families. As it is, since the introduction of this tax, economic growth has slowed 36 per cent.
"The initial purpose of the HST was to help business, and these changes eliminate that purpose. This current tax regime combined with the minimum wage hike, tells business that the NDP might as well be in power."
Cummins also accused Premier Christy Clark of blatantly trying to buy votes by offering one-time rebate cheques.
B.C. Chamber of Commerce president and CEO John Winter, saying there's been a lot of misinformation about the blended tax, said small business in the province would be the biggest winners by keeping all of the benefits of the HST and making their products more affordable to consumers.
The HST took effect July 1, 2010.
According to the Fraser Institute, many are likely hesitant to show support because they believe the HST shifts the tax burden from businesses to consumers, not aware businesses passed on the old tax in the form of higher prices.
Fight HST leader and former premier Bill Vander Zalm said Falcon's hint that previously exempt goods and services, such as restaurant meals, could be subject to PST if the referendum doesn't go their way is a "total betrayal" of citizens.
Depending on a work stoppage at Canada Post, the mail-in ballots were to start arriving at households this week. Completed ballots must be mailed by July 22.