There are many problems with the information in the HST Guide that we received.
First of all: we are given only two choices: keep the HST or go back to the GST/PST - the going back would be at fearsome expense to the province apparently.
Surely, there are other alternatives, such as an HST that is more fair, that strikes off some of the new most offensive inclusions in the newly taxable 17 per cent that is over and above the 29 per cent the PST/GST covered, such as parking, newspapers, veterinarian fees and home repairs, etc. One example, re-roofing, is already a crippling expense for many, and this HST adds a serious burden for people who have to keep a roof over their heads - shelter being a primary need. I recently got new floors in my house because the allergies to the carpeting were a problem. I paid $1,049 HST on the project.
By reconstructing a fairer HST, we would not be making it harder for businesses (a big pressure point for not going back to the old taxes), and the province would not have to kick back the moneys received, reportedly $1.6B, to Ottawa that we received to switch to the HST.
Also, some of the findings of the independent panel have some questionable logic: -
They state that the average BC family pays $350 more a year under the HST (unless you fix a leaky roof or a flooded basement). They justify this money grab now by saying the HST will create more economic growth in the future than the PST/GST- "about 24,400 more jobs by 2020 and a provincial economy about $2.5B larger by 2020". This is all absolute fiction. We who are paying now may never share in the "economic growth" it will allegedly create - probably offshore companies will enjoy the wealth, leaving those of us onshore high and dry. More importantly, no one can predict economic growth no matter how many factors they think they control, certainly not in nine years. Economic predictions are much like weather forecasting, and its predictions are subject to even more variables than the weather - including the weather. Economics has never successfully anticipated any bonanza or any catastrophe.
We should also be speaking of how this revenue is used. Defense Minister Peter McKay has just revealed that Canada has spent $26M trying to depose Gaddafi of Libya. He thinks Canada would support such aggressive use of our money. Perhaps this is the time for the federal government to follow the US (as always) - Robert Gates' suggestion that now is the time to end NATO, a 60 year out-of-date alliance, - so that we won't be continually dragged into wars that we might oppose.
In 1993, PM Chretien promised to get rid of Mulroney's hated GST (1991), and yet here we are in 2011 with both the Liberals and the Conservatives tightening the belt to the point where we are just not getting enough air.
Let's think outside the either/or box of threats - GST/PST or the 12 per cent HST - and demand a more rational option - a better, fairer HST of 10 per cent.