Readers take aim at the HST

The Leader received many letters against the HST – and none in support. Here's a selection.

I am 60-plus years old and I feel the increased taxation. It must be especially difficult for young families with the small amount of  disposable income they have being swallowed up by the HST.

My most noticeable increase in costs have been on vitamins, clothing, restaurants, cable TV and sports (my curling costs went up this year and so did my golf ).

When the HST was originally implemented, my ladies’ golf group experienced rounding up on the cost of our golf game which was more than HST – they said it was easier to do it that way.  Then when the season started this year, the price was the same as the rounded-up price last season, plus HST.

If you think you are getting the tax back with adjusted pricing, think again.

I will be voting “yes” to get rid of this horrific tax and I will expect this  government to restore the PST and GST to their previous status, with the same exemptions.

It will be unacceptable to expand the PST to a number of goods and services that were previously exempt, as B.C. Finance Minister Kevin Falcon recently indicated they may do.

I went to the fight HST website and found a list of items we are now paying additional taxes on.

Below is the list of the items previously exempt from PST that now have HST applied to them at an additional seven per cent.

What will cost more with HST, according to the B.C. government website: hstinbc.ca

• Accounting

• Admission fees

• Advertising

• Airline tickets

• Animal feed (hay is exempt)

• Appliance repair and maintenance

• Architects

• Art galleries admission

• Attractions / events

• Ballet lessons

• Basic cable TV

• Bicycles

• Campgrounds

• Cigarettes / cigars

• Catering

• Chinese medicine

• Clothing – adult-sized children

• Clothing – used adult (less than $100)

• Coffee shops

• Commercial leases

• Compost

• Computer servicing

• Concert tickets

• Condo management fees

• Consulting services

• Conveyance fees

• Delivery services

• Dietary supplements

• Dry cleaning

• Driving range fees

• Electronics repair

• Energy equipment

• Esthetician services

• Fast food – beverages

• Fire extinguishers

• First aid kits

• Fishing charters

• Fitness club memberships

• Fitness trainers

• Food producing trees and plants

• Freight (in B.C.)

• Funeral services

• Golf fees

• Grass cutting

• Hair cuts

• Hall rental

• Health equipment

• Helmets

• Hockey tickets

• Hockey rink rentals

• Home appraisals

• Home inspections

• Home maintenance

• Home renovations (labour)

• Horse boarding

• Horse shows

• Horse riding lessons

• House cleaning services

• Insulation

• Interior design services

• Investment counselling fees

• Landscaping

• Life jackets

• Limousine rentals

• Magazines / newspapers

• Marketing services

• Massage therapy

• Membership fees

• Moorage

• Museum admissions

• Movies / theatre

• Moving costs

• Music MP3 downloads

• Naturopathy

• New homes (some rebates applicable)

• Non-prescription meds

• Painting

• Parking

• Photography

• Postage

• Private bus fares

• Printing

• Rail travel (originating in B.C.)

• Real estate fees

• Reflexology

• Rentals for weddings, canopies, tuxedos etc.

• Reroofing houses

• Restaurant meals

• RV parks

• Safety equipment (not all safety and energy equipment is affected)

• School supplies

• Shoe repairs

• Skiing

• Smoke detectors

• Snow removal

• Solar power

• Some groceries

• Spa services

• Sports training / lessons

• Storage lockers

• Tailoring

• Taxi fares

• Telephone (basic charge for landlines will be affected)

• Theatre admissions

• Veterinarian

• Video downloads

• Vitamins

• Wedding planning

• Windows (Energy Star)

• Rentals / strata fees (though they are HST exempt, most people will notice increases brought on by an increase in maintenance costs and other costs associated with owning rental and strata properties)

• Used cars / trucks / boats / non-turbine aircraft (private sales will have an additional five-per-cent tax that is not called HST).

Darlene Bowyer, Port Kells

 

A tax on health

I will be voting against the HST for one simple reason: My 20-swipe pool pass at a local Surrey sports centre has increased from $90.75 to $96.80 because of the HST.

I swim to benefit my health.

How does paying tax on a leisure sport benefit me?

I haven’t seen any improvements in the sport centre. I suspect the $6.05 is forwarded to the federal government, who then funnels it back to the B.C. government.

Where does it go from there?

This tax does not make sense – it’s as simple as that.

A. Fuginski, Surrey

 

HST not promising despite promises

 

Regarding the HST, where are the jobs they promised? Where is the price reduction they promised?

Businesses get a tax break, then they promise to pass them on to us, the consumer.

Two years later and nothing.

I know they want us to believe that if we vote no, they will drop the HST down to 10 per cent.

What they don’t tell you is that they won’t raise it again later on. It’s like any other tax, they can raise it whenever they want.

This government has been fooling the people for years. You cannot tell if they are honest or not.

In my opinion, we should vote the HST out and go back to the GST and PST.

You cannot trust that this government will not raise the HST in five years to 14 per cent. These are supposed to be smart people that run for office. I worked 45 years for my pension. They only have to have six years or more for their pension.

Under Gordon Campbell, they gave themselves a 29-per-cent raise for salaries.

The rest of the people got zero. Now they want all the government workers, school teachers to take no raise.

A. Eichhorst, Cloverdale

 

Teach the system a lesson

We need to look back to the beginnings of this HST fray and remember that it wasn’t just another tax that angered the public; it was the way it was done. No need to rewind that sordid story and its aftermath, but don’t think it won’t be a factor in the upcoming referendum vote.

Taxpayers felt scorned, manipulated and disrespected by the political establishment and left without democratic representation as their elected representatives hung them out to dry and supported the tax, with the sole exception of Blair Leckstrom, but whom now supports it as a cabinet minister. Such is the sad perversion wrought by the doctrine of party discipline which has hijacked democratic representation.

The top few who run this province are gyrating with offers and manoeuvres to save the tax, but it would be a huge mistake for taxpayers to roll over for these people. By offering a few minor adjustments to the original scheme they infer they think we are somewhat Pavlovian and can be made to do anything if we are given a treat, a pat and a promise they will actually make the adjustments after the vote. Seven million dollars of our money allocated by the government arguing for the tax versus $250,000 for the against side is further cynical disrespect.

I personally am astounded by the fact that in all the words of advocacy spoken and written by politicians, and for that matter some of the media, I have not heard a single, solitary word of  concern or sympathy about where the money has to come from: the taxpayers pocket which is already taxed to hell. It has all been about how HST best serves the government’s needs.

So when you vote, just remember you are also voting not to be kicked around by an inadequate system of representation that should have seen your MLA fighting like a tiger for you because the vast majority of you clearly thought this tax was unfair.

You need to teach the system a lesson – don’t trivialize me. Make them dig their own way out of the hole they dug for themselves in the first place.

Roy Roope, Summerland

Surrey North Delta Leader

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