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Joined: 2/12/2009
Msg: 76
HST!Page 4 of 6    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
If you are already considering buying something for which you now only pay GST you might want to try and buy it now before the HST comes into effect.

For example purchases of bicycles and accessories are currently taxed only GST (no PST).

I looked at the government's list of what will be exempt from the HST here:

I did not find bicycles listed there, so would expect the HST to apply to them.
Joined: 9/13/2009
Msg: 77
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Posted: 10/7/2009 12:16:21 AM
In my opinion, the only good thing that will come out of HST is that there will only be one tax to calculate, which may in turn eventually lead us to "pay the advertised price" like what Australia has. (In Australia prices must be advertised inclusive of VAT.) Then it will be much easier to see who is adding on hidden fees and comparing services will be much easier.

I've seen a few "NO HST" signs in some restaurant windows, but other than that I don't really see any outrage. The NDP hopping on the bandwagon is to be expected, but I don't really expect them to undo it any more than I expect Gordo to.
Joined: 9/14/2009
Msg: 78
Posted: 10/7/2009 7:05:32 AM
Anyone who watched the news last night might have seen the piece on the reports coming out of Ontario where HST already exists. Basically, the reports show that this new tax system has extremely impacted tourism in that Province. Considering that you now have to pay all that extra tax on almost all of the things that are encompassed in "tourism", the costs have increased substantially! (if memory serves it was a 45% decrease in tourism that Ontario experienced).

To me it is all about timing. Our Government couldn't have picked a WORSE time imho to introduce this. We are in the middle (yes middle... this isn't going to end anytime soon) of a fuking recession, and these dolts want to increase our cost of living.

Personally, I am sick of the fact we sit here and do nothing about how our elected officials screw us over. This tax is bunk. No one can convince me otherwise.
 Eclectic Elf
Joined: 12/2/2005
Msg: 79
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Posted: 10/7/2009 12:01:07 PM
Anyone who watched the news last night might have seen the piece on the reports coming out of Ontario where HST already exists

just a small point of clarification...

From the article:

Cyndee Todgham Cherniak, a trade and tax lawyer at Lang Michener in Toronto, said the move to harmonize the taxes starting in July, 2010, is nothing more than a "cash grab" by the McGuinty government.

one of the reasons the bc liberals are pushing for our july startup, is so that they match ontario at the same time and we dont , as they suggest end up on the short end of the stick and remain competitive.

the atlantic provinces have had HST since 1997 (from the above national post link)

~~ ee
Joined: 10/20/2009
Msg: 80
Posted: 3/8/2010 8:07:53 AM
Joined: 6/14/2007
Msg: 81
Posted: 3/8/2010 8:37:55 AM
Looking back at this after months, it seems nothing has changed despite all their wrangling over it, and the issues are the same they were last fall:

Pros: The big one is that it makes the tax system a lot simpler. The small one is that it makes it a bit more equitable.

Cons: The big one is that it raises new home prices a lot. The small one is that it raises restaurant bills a bit.

General confusion: A lot of people still seem to think it's an extra 7% tax on things, or otherwise come up with the most crazy inflated estimates of how much it'll cost. One pamphlet going around says it'll cost families an extra $2000 per year, which is nuts. In fact, banks and economists and such estimate it might add around 1% to how much we spend - comparable to a year's inflation.

I'm a bit surprised that they haven't come up with some sort of deal on the housing tax, since the new scheme does look like they're clearly double-taxing there. I can only guess they figure it'll cool the housing market ... unless there was a news story on the point that I missed. Anyone know?
Joined: 1/9/2010
Msg: 82
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Posted: 3/8/2010 9:27:56 AM
I would rather just pay 5% GST like Alberta does.
But tax is tax and it has to pay for over-billed government projects, and these politicians giving themselves raises every year, while every joe-blow gets a decrease in pay.

I laughed when I read buddy talk about taxes decreasing, I guess he doesnt know ALL THE OTHER TAXES being hiked. That was a good laugh to start my day.
Joined: 3/15/2007
Msg: 83
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Posted: 3/24/2010 8:32:06 PM
I see that Bill VanderZalm is on tour and sharing the pluses and minuses . So hopefully will get a better grip on what to expect . Looking forward to his stop in Kelowna Saturday night at the Grand and hearing another side of the story .
Joined: 3/15/2007
Msg: 84
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Posted: 3/28/2010 12:01:29 PM
It is interesting reading some of the posts and how some people see things differently than others or how maybe some have not heard the whole story .
A great gathering was held in Kelowna last night with Bill and another one is taking place as we speak in Penticton and another tonight in Osoyoos which I am just heading to. By all accounts we have a strong chance to STOP HST in B.C. and if we can it will be a strong influence on what takes place in other provinces as well.

It is important for everyone to know that the only petition or signatures is what is done on a Election B.C. petition form and witnessed by a registered canvasser and to ignore any other handouts asking for signatures especially those that are organized by MLA'S etc. . So ; anyone who has signed forms or handouts so far please be aware that anything you have signed does not count . It has to be a physical signature witnessed on a Proper petition form .
Joined: 6/14/2007
Msg: 85
Posted: 3/28/2010 5:29:12 PM

It is interesting reading some of the posts and how some people see things differently than others or how maybe some have not heard the whole story .

I don't think much is missing from the "whole story" by now, although admittedly it was rather annoying hearing that they plan to keep the PST on private used car sales and raise it to 12%.

What I find interesting (but also depressing) is how people turn off their brains as soon as somebody tells them what they want to hear - which in this case is "no HST". Consider:

1) When did we start trusting Bill VanderZalm again??
2) People say they're going to start voting NDP because of this - do they really believe an NDP government will save them money?
3) That blatant bullsh1t about the "$2100 cost to the average family" is still going around - being spread by the above two camps and the restaurant association. Have people forgotten how to multiply? If true, this would mean households are spending $30,000 per year on things that were PST exempt but won't be HST exempt. Half the households in BC probably don't spend thirty grand per year on anything, let alone things that'll attract new HST.

There's another thing I've wondered since day 1 of this but still haven't figured out - who pushed for this in the first place? You can't blame it all on Gordo, if for no other reason than it's happening in Ontario as well. It does definitely look like the federal government pushing it, but why would the Conservatives risk a guaranteed vote-loser with their slim hold on power? It was always the plan, since way back when GST was first introduced, to eventually harmonize all sales tax across Canada, but why are they tackling it now when for twenty years it's been too much of a hot potato to touch? My best theory is that the mandarins inside the government bureaucracies are responsible somehow or other, but it's just a stab in the dark really.

My own opinion hasn't changed much. In the end it'll probably cost me one or two hundred bucks a year, adding everything up, but I'm happy about it anyway because it means 1) I never need to decide whether I should or shouldn't be charging clients PST again, 2) I can deduct PST paid on all my business expenses (whereas now I can only do so for a few), and 3) it's a couple less forms to fill out every year. I do see two real problems with it - housing tax and the knock-on effect of the weird "GST exempt" business. Reforming GST/HST is a better answer to those problems than sticking with PST, and pretty much every other problem I've heard is minor.
Joined: 6/14/2007
Msg: 86
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Posted: 3/28/2010 9:03:50 PM
1) I never need to decide whether I should or shouldn't be charging clients PST again, 2) I can deduct PST paid on all my business expenses (whereas now I can only do so for a few), and 3) it's a couple less forms to fill out every year

Notice that all 3 of these mentioned benifits are to business owners and not the regular working person.
Joined: 6/14/2007
Msg: 87
Posted: 3/28/2010 9:27:50 PM

Notice that all 3 of these mentioned benifits are to business owners and not the regular working person.

Of course ... wasn't it always clear that the benefit of this would be to business people?

... But ...

The thing to remember is that the business landscape in BC is very different from 50 or even 25 years ago. Therein lies another of the anti-HST camp's distortions. Way back in the days when BC was all lumberjacks and timber barons (if that was ever so) it might have made sense to talk about something being good for businessmen but not for ordinary people. Nowadays it makes less sense because the economy is more diverse and a lot of ordinary people are running businesses. These aren't just the small shops people picture, either. They're also contractors and service businesses. That entire class of people is growing rapidly, at least in part because Internet makes it cheap and easy to run a business. Shifting from PST to HST will make it even easier to start up a business (because it's a bit less cash you have to pay on all your expenses), and encourage more people to do it.

Does anyone not think that diversity is a good thing?

Well, yes, there is a large and fairly obvious group for whom it's not a good thing - the trade unions, NDP, and everybody else who stands to benefit from the traditional divisions in BC. While you all are shouting about the government's lies and hidden motives and what not (and I'm not disputing most of that, really), don't miss the lies the opposition are stirring up or the transparent motive for it: they see their chance to gain power by stirring up trouble.
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 88
Posted: 3/28/2010 9:48:43 PM
I've talked to a lot of small business people about this. They all uniformily dislike the change. Sure, they get some tax advantage, but it's more than offset by the problems caused to their customers.

I sold advertising when the GST came in. For small businesses it meant a lot more underground economy and a lot more cash deals. A lot of businesses went under as a direct result of that tax. This will only reinforce that - we'll see it again. A 7% extra on top of a home repair bill is much different psychologically than an extra 12%.

This is a very bad thing for small businesses. It is a very bad thing for consumers. It's only good for large corporations. Value added taxes are the most regressive form of taxation out there.
Joined: 12/6/2009
Msg: 89
Posted: 4/8/2010 5:00:19 PM
If you want to sign the petition- you have to be a registered voter before April 6th; I just found that on the Elections BC site
Joined: 4/1/2006
Msg: 90
view profile
Posted: 4/9/2010 11:58:42 PM

The small one is that it raises restaurant bills a bit.

In my line of business, it's a huge one...more than double the tax! A lot of families will second guess the treat of a nice meal when they realize the extra tax they have to pay, which will affect my bottom line.

Which in turn may lead me to not hiring any extra people for the summer season, or worse, having to let someone go.

It may very well lead to higher unemployment in some sectors of the economy.

In the Ontario plan there is a proposal that restaurant items less than $4 will be exempt. Not the total bill, mind you, just each item.

Who benefits? The fast junk food chains...selling nothing but fat, sugar and salt...which does have an affect on the cost of health care....which leads to...

Oh....guess what....the HST plan in BC is tied to health care'll be funding it... health care costs does the HST.

Disclaimer: I'm not attempting to confuse the two proposals, just noting the ridiculousness of it all. Nor do I know if the ON proposal is tied to health care costs.
 Ed Bear
Joined: 5/19/2007
Msg: 91
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Posted: 4/16/2010 7:56:06 AM
I say, FIGHT THE TAX! Make sure you sign the OFFICIAL petition, and that you are legible and veifiable as on the most recent roll of electors. Tell everyone you know to get involved - it's the ONLY thing that can stop the HST before the next election over three years from now.

Let's start with the fact that the SoCreds-in-Liberal-Clothing denied considering HST before last year's election, and tried to not talk about it all. And right after winning the election, voila - a fully developed plan with legislative drafts, lobby groups and all sprang from nowhere!

If this was not something that would hurt most BC voters, it would have been campaigned on, not hidden. Campbell & co. expect to have over three years to make us forget, get mad about other issues, or buy us off with a temporary, partial bribe as with the Carbon tax.

Now let's add that when the four Atlantic provinces harmonized, they got big cash payouts to TEMPORARILY reduce the HST rate, for both political cover and to allow people time to adapt. Quebec didn't unify tax collection, but they did widen their PST to cover all GST items. All the pain, no labour savings. Quebec got federal money and spent it on income-tax cuts.

Neither Ontario nor B.C. will use that bonus to buffer HST's impact on consumers. It will all go to - drumroll - inome tax cuts.

Even if the HST changes were revenue-neutral for government coffers, they aren't for individuals.

Universal, uncontested fact: increasing consumption taxes and cutting income taxes transfers money from low-to-medium-income taxpayers to the wealthiest, whether they be individuals or corporations. The less money folks have, in general, the more of it they spend. That means they spend more on consumption taxes, less exempt items (which will be reduced in proportion by the HST's wider coverage). Wealthier taxpayers spend less on taxable consumption and more on investments, foreign travel and foreign assets, which are not subject to consumption taxes.

The more money people have, the more income tax they will save. Remember how Campbell's day-one 20% slash of income taxes gave most of us less than a couple of hundred savings on income tax, but the doubling of medical care premiums cost us more than that except for the working poor who get premium assistance? Not to mention increasing the PST rate to cover it, albeit temporarily. And parks, roads, ferries and other user fees were increased or instituted, all taxes that cost lower income earners a greater proportion of their income.

There are lots of fine points, but as a rule of thumb switching from income to consumption taxes benefits families making over $100,000, hurting those who make less. The break-even is lower for singles. I have yet to see the break-even calculations for this current proposal, but it was pretty close for the carbon tax... and, as carbon tax drives down energy use, that revenue stream shrinks and the tax is ratcheted up. The people who paid the price AND consumed less (usually by lowering their standard of living) get to pay even more as a thank-you for reducing consumption. They can't use any savings from reduction in usage to bankroll efficiencies because the money is already gone in tax.

Public institutions like schools, libraries, building projects, infrastructure, hospitals and ferries CAN'T claim a GST of HST rebate, because they make little or no profit to deduct against. Suddenly there's a bill to be paid, and lower income taxes which overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy. Consumption taxes and service fees then extract that money from the middle class and poor.

And when the temporary abatement money from Ottawa is gone, you can bet it won't be income taxes that are raised to cover the shortage. We're coming in at 12%, and other HST provinces are at 13%, save Quebec which is raising their HST-equivalent PST/VAT even higher soon. There's lots of optics room to raise the HST.

They will only be partially compensated for that: (from the BC government web site)
* 87 per cent of the provincial portion of the HST for eligible schools
* 75 per cent of the provincial portion of the HST for eligible universities and public colleges
* 58 per cent of the provincial portion of the HST for eligible hospitals and health authorities.
Not all such institutions are eligible, either. Oh - and privatization will be promoted, as private contractors willhave the GST benefits public works don't in most cases. When PPPs make money, it goes to the private industry: when they fail, they get to go bankrupt but cities and provincial agencies can't. Look at the Millennium Water project, and just wait on the Canada line once post-olympic usage numbers come in.

If restaurants weren't going to be impacted by the HST, why are the restaurant associations screaming in panic? No, not John Bishop - his posh customers have lots of money, will be saving a big bundle on income tax, and often charge and deduct meals to their companies.

Labour will be subject to HST. That will drive up car repairs, home repairs and improvements, haircuts and non-medical health-care (naturalists, homeopathic crooks, massagers, cosmeticians and the like) and house cleaning. And it will encourage unreported income.

Much publicity is addressing the exemptions, but the agreement with the federal Harper government (which is of similar tax policy) limits exemptions to 5% of the total value collected. I can't find a reference about whether that's only the PST portion or the whole GST, but it means that those exemptions will be minimal or partial. Since the traditional darlings of the SoCreds-in-Liberal-Clothing (and SoCreds before them), car dealers, will be getting an exemption on new vehicles (including boats and ATVs and snowmobiles, it seems), while used vehicles (at dealers AND private sales) will pay the full rate, the scope for other exemptions is greatly reduced.

AND THE BENEFITS? Supposedly, people earning under-the-table income who evade income tax will pay a bigger share of taxes because when they spend their cash, it will be taxed. But this new rate will greatly encourage consumers to accept unreported income, which should be paying income tax through enforcement.

People who live outside BC's income-tax reach will pay sales tax when visiting BC. Oh, but wait, they'll be eligible for rebates on much of it. We aren't. Even welfare recipients will pay GST, and that is funded by provincial funds which will be funded less and less by income tax.

And, of course, businesses will be getting income tax cuts, spurring them to contribute to the SoCrediberals and help them stay in power, thus furthering their financial interests.

There's going to be a lot of spittle splattered about this in the days before June, but the net effect is a poorer government, reduced services, higher fees, and money transferred from middle-class and working-poor taxpayers to the wealthy and wealthy corporations, many of which will pay most of their dividends outside BC.

This is very complex, and the negative aspects are hard to find on the BC government websites; I am sure I have made some errors here, but like adjustments to the science of natural selection they will not overturn the dominant effects. We have other provinces to look at.

SIGN THE PETITION! Go to to find out where and how.

NO ON LINE PETITION CAN HAVE ANY EFFECT! You MUST sign the official initiative registered with Elections BC!

If the initiative passes, it is binding and the government must repeal it or hold a referendum to repeal it.
This is real democratic power your hands.
 Space Cowboy 53
Joined: 1/14/2010
Msg: 92
Posted: 4/19/2010 12:19:44 PM
Here's hoping history will be made.....this government needs to take notice that the vast majority of the electorate is not in favor of yet another tax grab. If you against the HST, go find out where you can sign a petition....right now the only chance we have to possibly stop it is to garner enough opposition through signatures on a petition opposing the HST.
Joined: 2/17/2009
Msg: 93
Posted: 4/19/2010 7:14:17 PM
This Government does what ever they want to do. H*ll they will sell this province to the hihest bidder. Scandal galore and answers to no one!
Joined: 3/11/2007
Msg: 94
view profile
Posted: 4/19/2010 9:03:13 PM
Found this today....

1. You may have heard “The HST adds $2,100 to your yearly costs”
a. You would need to spend an additional $30,000 on currently PST-exempt items to reach $2,100
b. For a Family of 4 with a $60,000 annual income the true impact is $8.91 per month.
c. A Senior Couple with a $30,000 income will be impacted by an additional $1 per year.
d. A Family of 4 with a $90,000 income will be impacted by an additional $14.83 per month.
e. A Family of 4 with a $30,000 income will actually benefit by $44.58 per month (because of the BC HST Credit)

2. You may have heard “Everything will cost more”
The vast majority of retail items will see no tax change with HST
Items on which you pay PST and GST today stay exactly the same. (7%PST + 5%GST = 12% HST)
a. New cars, trucks, boats, recreational vehicles
b. Furniture
c. Electronics
d. Kitchenware
e. Toiletries
f. Hardware and tools
g. Adults clothing
h. Pet Food

3. You may have heard “Housing will cost more”
a. No HST on used homes which make up 80% of total sales in BC
b. HST rebate will apply on new homes up to $525,000 – maximum $26,250
c. Homes above $525,000 are eligible for a rebate of $26,250
d. In BC - 73% of home sales are under $500,000
e. In Northern BC 99% of home sell for less than $500,000

4. You may have heard “You’ll pay more for car insurance, home insurance…”
The HST won’t change the price of any of those items. They are exempt.

5. You may have heard “Staying warm and keeping the lights on will cost more”
Home heating fuels and residential electricity are eligible for a point-of-sale rebate, including:
a. Oil
b. Natural gas
c. Propane
d. Wood and wood pellets
HST won’t increase the cost of heating or powering your home

6. You may have heard “It will cost more to feed my family”
These are ALL zero rated –
a. basic groceries such as milk, bread, and vegetables.
b. agricultural products such as grain, raw wool, and dried tobacco leaves.
c. most farm livestock.
d. most fishery products such as fish for human consumption.
e. prescription drugs and drug-dispensing fees (in case you buy these at the grocery pharmacy).
The general rule of thumb is – if there is currently GST on any item at the grocery store than HST will apply.

7. You may have heard “The disabled will be impacted by additional cost for medical devices”
These Medical devices are zero-rated:
(a) hearing aids
(b) heart-monitoring devices
(c) hospital beds
(d) breathing apparatus
(e) asthmatic devices
(f) prescription eyeglasses/contact lenses
(g) artificial eyes
(h) artificial teeth such as dentures, crowns and bridges, orthodontic appliances
(i) aids to locomotion such as a chair, commode chair, walker, wheelchair lift or other aid to locomotion for use by an individual with a disability
(j) patient lifters
(k) wheelchair ramp; portable wheelchair ramp
(l) modifying motor vehicles to adapt the vehicle for the transportation of an individual using a wheelchair
(m) prescription orthotic and orthopedic devices
(n) prosthesis/devices
(o) canes or crutches
(p) articles for blind individuals
(q) guide dogs for blind individuals and hearing ear dogs
(r) supplies and services related to medical and assistive devices.

8. You may have heard “Children’s clothes and items will increase”
Children’s clothing and items below will not be subject to the provincial portion (7%) of the HST or HST exempt
(a) Children's clothing designed for babies, girls, and boys up to and including girls' Canada Standard Size 16 and boys' Canada Standard Size 20, or clothing designated for girls and boys in sizes small, medium or large if the clothing does not have a designated Canada Standard Size would be eligible for point-of-sale rebate. This would not include costumes or clothing like sports protective equipment.
(b) Children’s footwear designed for babies, girls, and boys up to and including girls' size 6 and boys' size 6, including footwear without a numerical size that is designated for girls or boys in sizes small, medium or large would be eligible for point-of-sale rebate. This would not include skates, rollerblades, ski-boots, footwear that has cleats, or similar footwear.
(c) Diapers, including cloth and disposable diapers designed for babies and children, and diaper inserts and liners, rubber pants, and training pants would be eligible for point-of-sale rebate. Incontinence products would be zero-rated under HST, in accordance with current GST rules.
(d) Children's car seats and car booster seats that are restraint systems or booster cushions that conform with Transport Canada's safety requirements for Standards 213, 213.1, 213.2 and 213.5, as described under the federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act would be eligible for point-of-sale rebate.

9. You may have heard "Education costs are going to increase including my child’s music lessons”
Educational services such as courses supplied by a vocational school leading to a certificate or a diploma which allows the practice of a trade or a vocation, or tutoring services made to an individual in a course that follows a curriculum designated by a school authority; music lessons are not taxable.

10. You may have heard “HST will hurt small business”
HST will be good for business. It will replace hidden sale tax and small businesses will get additional tax cuts. Currently, PST is applied at every step in the creation of a product. Those multiple PST charges are embedded in the price you pay at the store – even though you can't see it. And of course, you pay PST on the final purchase price. Under the HST system, most of those embedded costs are removed and savings can be passed on to the consumer.
 Ed Bear
Joined: 5/19/2007
Msg: 95
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Posted: 4/19/2010 11:29:04 PM
Where did you find that, boatswamper?
The alleged costs seem rediculously low - anyone who buys a vehicle, or eats out once a week, will probably be spending a lot more. Are the calculations including income tax cuts? I'd like to see how they were derived.

I can't see $21,000 as realistic, either, without home purchase - where did that come from?
Joined: 6/14/2007
Msg: 96
Posted: 4/20/2010 6:51:51 AM
Where did you find that, boatswamper?

Is that the pamphlet the government is planning to put out, the one that rebuts the anti-HST claims? The same one that BlunderZalm is trying to squelch with procedural maneuvers while he winds up his campaign to recall the government and coincidentally launch himself into the public eye one more time? (Remind me one more time - when did he start seeming trustworthy again?)

The alleged costs seem rediculously low - anyone who buys a vehicle, or eats out once a week, will probably be spending a lot more. Are the calculations including income tax cuts? I'd like to see how they were derived.

I also would guess that's the estimated cost after the additional income tax rebates are factored in. The anti-HST camp likes to forget about those. "Yearly costs" presumably don't include the major purchases (and major HST contention points) of new houses and used cars.

I can't see $21,000 as realistic, either, without home purchase - where did that come from?

If you mean the claim that the HST will cost people $2100 per year, the first place I saw that particular bit of bu11shit was on a flyer from the restaurant association. They had this long list of things people might do which would cost more then added up the total and got $2100 and presented that as the cost to the average family. It was hysterical (in both senses of the word).

Unfortunately the cynical manipulation in it was also obvious; get one group to publish a rubbish figure then everybody else can quote it without bothering to check, and not be held to account when it's exposed. That's exactly what's happened, too. Now the $2100 figure gets passed around and accepted as gospel (by people who can't or won't do basic arithmetic, at least).

It's about time somebody official countered some of the more obvious lies being spread about HST. There's enough real material there to debate without adding sheer nonsense to it, yet I suspect the nonsense is what's fixed in most people's minds. Unfortunately, if the above does come from an official source people will probably discount it even though they can check the claims themselves. Then they'll blindly go and accept every bit of crap published by Big Bill and the NDP's tag-team of Bill Tieleman and David Schreck, because they're saying what people want to hear AND giving them something to be angry about.

Being suspicious of government is a good thing, but you do need to temper it with a bit of common sense...
Joined: 3/11/2007
Msg: 97
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Posted: 4/20/2010 1:43:39 PM

Where did you find that, boatswamper?
The alleged costs seem rediculously low - anyone who buys a vehicle, or eats out once a week, will probably be spending a lot more. Are the calculations including income tax cuts? I'd like to see how they were derived.

I can't see $21,000 as realistic, either, without home purchase - where did that come from?

It was posted on another web site where people were discussing the HST.
I don't know how the $ amounts were derived, and they do seem quite low, but the remainder of the points put quite a dent in the anti-HST hype.
I still think most people jump on the anti-HST bandwagon because they don't care enough to educate themselves on this issue. I mean who wants a new tax? I sure don't. But after reading up about the pluses and minuses of this new way of taxing us, I think this is a better way to raise the needed money for all the things the whining masses want/need.
 Ed Bear
Joined: 5/19/2007
Msg: 98
view profile
Posted: 4/21/2010 2:10:40 AM
There's still a lot of bafflegab, but I must point out that Vander Zalm is NOT trying to "recall the government" - just stop the tax - and he has consistently denied any office-seeking for years. He seems genuinely revolted by where the political right (formerly very populist under the SoCreds) has gone.

I never had any use for him either, but he's on the right side here.

ANY attempt to raise regressive taxes and cut income taxes transfers cash to the richest at the expense of everyone else.

When individuals have more cash to spend, business benefits.

The reverse has yet to be seen anywhere around her.
(Sorry about the typo - $2100 not $21000 - but both numbers seem high.)
Anyone who eats out often, makes a major purchase that's effected, or earns less than about $100K will PROBABLY come out a loser.
Joined: 6/14/2007
Msg: 99
Posted: 4/21/2010 8:17:22 AM
I must point out that Vander Zalm is NOT trying to "recall the government" - just stop the tax

See point #2:

I may be wrong in blaming that on VanderZalm. That's more likely the NDP trying the California approach: if you can't get in by an election, do it by petition. I'm particularly remembering this article:

Particularly notice this bit:
Taking out just eight B.C. Liberals would defeat the government.

There you have the motive for much of that "bafflegab." Lies to get power, plain and simple.

ANY attempt to raise regressive taxes and cut income taxes transfers cash to the richest at the expense of everyone else.

That's your beef with the HST in a nutshell? You're against consumption tax because rich people spend less and therefore pay less tax?

I'm rather at the other end of things there. Income tax is problematic in that it presents way too many loopholes for people to cheat on taxes. and is inherently much more complex and expensive to administer. You don't really think the poor are benefitting the most from the current income tax setup, do you?

There's also the argument that income tax discourages productivity, and that doesn't get as much air time here as it should. I have met a good many people living overseas who were happy to explain why they didn't feel like sticking at home and working twice as hard to gain 10% more income in the end. But since they have left the country it's rare for anyone here to hear their side of the debate.

While I wouldn't like to see VAT-style taxes replace income tax completely, I'd be more than happy to replace income tax with a variety of other sources, and I absolutely am in favour of modest user fees being part of that. It's just basic psychology and economics. If people perceive something as "free" (which in this context really means already paid for) then there's no incentive for them not to waste it. With the cost of health care steadily growing and taking over government budgets here, we should all be thinking about things like this.

In any case, this is one of those arguments that's really more about the GST than the HST. The decision to have some consumption tax has already been made long ago, for better or worse. Harmonizing is a very minor variation on the theme, and a necessary step if we're going to simplify taxes and make them more consistent (which I'd hope we all agree would be a good thing, no?)
 Ed Bear
Joined: 5/19/2007
Msg: 100
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Posted: 4/22/2010 12:40:36 PM
Well, I disagree completely with TheFishWhoWasSEB.

Income tax is the ONLY tax (other than the odd insignificant luxury tax) that takes a greater proportion of income from wealthy individuals than middle-class and low-income ones. All flat taxes are regressive - they cost the wealthy relatively insignificant income proportions.

And, for the more wealthy, income is HARDER to hide. And income taxes are relatively cheap to collect; increasing them simply means changing the forms (which are new every year anyway) and changing the law. The rest is already done (and paid for) anyway. It was the GST that required the creation of an immense new bureaucracy and horrendous changes to business practises and software. Yes, much of the implementation work is already done, but eliminating it would still eliminate the work of tracking, calculating and rebating it, as well as the widespread fraud involving fake claimbacks by business, which is still not well controlled despite decades of work by the government.

Early in the GST's implementation, a very good analysis by one of the think tanks pointed out that a 3% increase in income tax would pay for all the money raised by GST other than GST on liquor, automobiles and tobacco. I have no idea how to track that down now, twenty years later, though.

In the sixties, half of tax was paid by business in Canada, and half by individuals. Now the business share is only 6%, and wealthy individuals with non-resident status are not part of the individual share either.

Income tax damages productivity? That's never made any dense. High-income earners are by definition those making the most for a unit of work time, and thus most encouraged to make more. Others usually have little opportunity to make more because they have limited free time and the reward for it is low.

Most European countries have high VAT rates, BUT they provide a MUCH more complete range of services for their citizens, and much better labour laws. The gap between working wages and high-income extremes is much narrower than in North America, particularly the US.

User fees discourage consumption, yes. But while we may want to discourage some uses - such as alcohol, tobacco and tourist air travel, for example - and thus should attach user fees, the reverse is true: when we want to promote something, we should fund it centrally and not attach user fees.

Health care is one of the best examples. We DO NOT want to discourage people from access to health care, because they get sicker, less productive and dead. Even a $5 per visit charge in Quebec led to more than half the population simply avoiding ALL doctor's visits until they were taken to hospital by ambulance at great expense; preventative health care went out the window. They eliminated the charge and costs went down, though the current right-wing Charest government is trying to bring it back.

In the US, private health-care insurers make their money on young, healthy people making no claims. As they age and get sick, denying them care saves the insurer money AND kills off the clients, who are no longer profitable. If they aren't dead, the insurer can (and does) simply cancel their coverage, having made all the cash and spent very little. All US health care insurers use co-payments that discourage claims and in many cases make it impossible for the insured make a claim because even 30% of the cost of a major illness will bankrupt almost everyone. In Canada, half of prescriptions are never filled; it's higher in the US.

Same for parks, beaches, and other government services: user fees mean that facilities paid for largely by universal taxes end up available only to those willing and able to pay user fees. The user fees always fail to yield predicted revenues because usership drops off: our provincial parks and city beaches are excellent examples. Only those with lots of spare cash kept going, getting near-exclusive use of facilities whose cost was only supported by fees to an insignificant extent.

Education is the best example of all - every investment in education makes for less wasteful, less destructive, less stupid, less reproductive citizens who are much more productive. Only employers who want a low-wage pool of desperate employees for no-brainer jobs want to restrict access to education, and they end up exporting their jobs anyways because locals can never survive on what someone in India, China or Cameroon can.

Canada and the US were at their most profitable AND socially equal during the years when income taxes were steep and corporate taxes high. Globalization and corporate pressure have driven tax cuts that have reduced the ability of governments to do things and control corporate abuses, and the results have consistently been poorer economic performance and higher deficits. Tax cuts in neo-conservative plans - California, Alberta, Harris-era Ontario - resulted in higher economic activity BUT created huge debts that (thanks to the new tax stuctures) can only be paid by the lower-income working population.
(Alberta succeeded because essentially all of their revenue comes from resources, and they had no provincial sales and no income taxes except a brief high-income surcharge.)
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