HST delimma

#hst #bcpoli #bcndp #bclib

So, we’re about to get our vote on the BC HST that was rudely dropped on the province. I have to admit that I am on the fence on the tax and I hate that fact.

I want to oppose the HST. I am just as furious about how former Premier Gordon Campbell hit BC with this tax without consultation, and despite his party pledged that the tax wasn’t on the radar, so to speak. It was a lie. Negotiations were well under way with the federal government on an HST conversion before the 2009 BC election that saw the¬†unprecedented third straight victory for the BC Liberals.

On politics alone, I would vote to scrap the HST.

But fiscal policy is at play here. The HST is a value added tax – on consumption. On principle, that’s something that I ironically support. In an era of over production and consumption of unnecessary or essential consumer goods that are draining our natural resources, a government levy is entirely¬†appropriate. Taxing consumption on non essentials does seem fair. Its not like you are being hit with a huge tax bill when you buy normal groceries for every day living. Basics for children are largely exempt from the tax, as they should be.

It is a simple tax too. Its one form that’s remitted to the government by the retailer at the point of sale. The retailer simply deducts the tax s/he was obligated to pay from the tax that was collected at the point of sale and remits the balance. Having two sets of tax policy to deal with is problematic and expensive. In one fell swoop, this tax makes a savings at the administration end for the retailer…that savings can either be used to hire, lower prices, increase profit margin (taxable) or invest in building the business.

I have to acknowledge that not all policies of a party that I despise are necessarily bad ones. While I disagree with most of them, I’m afraid the HST is not one of them.

I am typically an NDP supporter, but I will probably be voting to keep the HST…it does not however mean that I will be voting Liberal…that will never happen.