Cost of keeping HST higher than the alternative

Re: “High cost to killing the HST,” Letters, June 24.

The writer starts off with his parents teaching him “not to cut off of your nose to spite your face.” My parents taught me “not to be penny wise and pound foolish.”

He also states “the costs of unravelling the HST will be massive.” But the costs of keeping the HST will even be greater.

The writer makes much of that one-time $1.6-billion payment or inducement (some call it a bribe) for B.C. to enter into the HST agreement with Ottawa. This was a pure business decision and was not a gift as some would believe. Ottawa stands to gain an additional $300 million per year revenue, forever or in perpetuity. What side of the deal would you rather be on?

Furthermore, the provincial government has now revealed the HST is not revenue neutral as first claimed, but raises an additional $831 million per year besides the $1.8 billion first intended. That $831 million in this first year since July 1, 2010 offsets half of that $1.6 billion repayable – and for that matter, I’m not even sure that B.C. is not in full receipt of those funds yet.

The writer claims that Gordon Campbell, Colin Hansen and the Liberal party in the last election made no promises not to bring in the HST and knows of no evidence. Let me remind him that in the last election, the Liberal party on its official letterhead (when asked specifically) wrote to both the B.C. Restaurant Association and the B.C. Building Association saying, “we do not contemplate adopting the HST.” If that isn’t a promise, I don’t know what is. And just to be clear, Campbell and the Liberals had no mandate to introduce HST.

This HST issue is really all about whether businesses should pay the $1.8 billion as before or individual consumers. It would be far better to have that $1.8 billion being spent by British Columbians supporting businesses for a healthier economy. Vote “yes” and extinguish the HST.

James Dartnell

Surrey

Surrey North Delta Leader

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