Minister of Finance replies to letter from B.C. Federation president

I have admitted time and time again that government did a horrible job introducing the HST, but to suggest we lied to British Columbians is simply not true

Editor, The Times:

I’d like to respond to (B.C. Federation of Labor president) Jim Sinclair’s June 27th letter “The Harmonized Sales Tax cannot be fixed” and correct the record. Mr. Sinclair continues to put out demonstratively false information on the HST.

I have admitted time and time again that government did a horrible job introducing the HST, but to suggest we lied to British Columbians is simply not true. British Columbians will decide for themselves over the summer whether or not to keep the HST. For the real numbers, not the make-belief number of the NDP and big unions, I encourage you to visit www.HSTinBC.ca and take a look at what an independent panel of financial and economic experts had to say about the HST and the two-tax system of the PST plus GST.

I also recommend your readers review the proposed changes government has made to the HST – changes which are enshrined in law – that address some of the concerns we heard directly from more than 275,000 British Columbians. These changes include marching down the HST rate from 12 per cent to 10 per cent by 2014 and a $175 per child HST transition payment for families and $175 for seniors earning up to $40,000.

Another uncomfortable fact Sinclair continues to ignore is that as part of the changes announced by government, businesses will actually take on more of the tax burden by an increase to the general corporate income tax rate to 12 per cent from the current 10 per cent and a postponement of the planned reduction in the small business tax rate. The NDP and their big-union friends have continually tried to make the HST a political issue based on fiction, not fact.  Even a top NDP advisor from the 1990s – Marvin Shaffer – says he would keep the HST.

I will be voting “NO” for lower taxes and a 10 per cent HST and I encourage all British Columbians to do their homework, visit www.HSTinBC.ca, read the comprehensive voters guide, talk to your local business people, and ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. The choice is yours.

Kevin Falcon

Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance