Thoughts on HST

Excerpts from provincial/federal government emails and briefing notes obtained by CBC through FOI requests

“harmonization continues to present very real challenges including a loss of provincial tax policy flexibility, the real and perceived shift in tax burden from business to individuals, a lack of support from some business sectors, the need to protect low income individuals and families from tax increases, and the need to ensure adequate provincial revenues.”

“All businesses and final consumers are required to pay the HST but, under the multi-stage sales tax, businesses claim a credit,” … “Thus, businesses effectively recover all tax paid on purchases for business use.”

Re the PST In British Columbia, “even with the exemption for production machinery and equipement, businesses pay about 48% of the total provincial sales tax paid in the province.”


“About 48% of the total PST paid in British Columbia is paid by business, 48% by consumers and 4% by the public sector. For comparison, 87% of GST paid in British Columbia is paid by consumers, 11% by business and 2% by the public sector.”

“Harmonizing the PST in B.C. with the GST would have the following implications:”
“- The elimination of most PST exemptions.” (a list includes children’s clothing and footwear, residential fuel, school supplies, residential telephone, safety equipment and patent medicines)
“- Imposition of PST on most services that are not currently taxed” (a list includes accounting services, contractor services, personal care services)
“- B.C.’s ability to make unilateral changes to the provincial tax base in support of specific provincial social or economic policy objectives would be reduced.”
“- There would be a shift in the tax burden from businesses to individuals”

Ask yourself:

  • Should this tax burden be shifted from business to individuals?
  • Should PST exemptions on school supplies, heating fuels, children’s clothing, safety equipment, medicines be eliminated?
  • Are protections for low income individuals and families sufficient?
  • Do we want to give up provincial control of provincial taxes?

I think not. I am also mighty tired of government dishonesty and disrespect for voters. On all levels we need to pay attention, and demonstrate that we are paying attention, so that governments will work for citizens, economies will work for citizens and we won’t leave economic or environmental debts for our children and their children to pay. I’ll be voting “Yes” to extinguish the HST.

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