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And, even more on the HST

Thought I’d post a couple more notes on the HST.
Do you remember when the GST was being implemented, i.e. forced on us? In 1991, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney promised an improvement in the Canadian economy as a hidden Manufacturers’ Sales Tax (MST) would be replaced with an upfront Goods and Services Tax. With this, he said, we would be more competitive to export our goods and it would benefit all Canadians as prices would eventually drop for us as it would be a lower tax than the 13.5% MST. Prices did not drop at all in some cases or enough, in other cases, to make up for the new tax.

We’re Canadians. We’re used to being taxed. We complain about it and then forget about it and pay the higher rates like good Canadians. The government had already tried once before to implement the joint tax with the “Blended Sales Tax” with Prime Minister Jean Chretien. It was nicknamed the “B.S. Tax” and it didn’t go through.

Now we’re being told that the HST will start in July 2010 and that it too will improve our economy. We’re being told that manufacturers will drop their prices and save us money in the long run. We’re being told that more jobs will make life for all Canadians better. We’re being told that it is not a way for the government to raise money as they are calling it revenue-neutral (same as they told us for the GST). The fact is that it is estimated that it will cost an extra $2000 per year for each family or an extra $1250 per year for each elderly couple.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m working on getting informed and I think it important that all Canadians know what is happening with this too because it will affect each and every one of us.

Some sites (both sides) for information:
Fight the HST – Bill Vanderzalm’s very informative site http://fighthst.com/
Yes, this is about the GST, but check out the parallels to the HST http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goods_and_Services_Tax_(Canada)
A smarter way to implement the HST as Atlantic Canada did http://www2.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/comment/story.html?id=9f7101af-f05c-40bf-a95e-3fb267fc0667
Check out the comments! 441 of them and the commenting was closed off. People are angry! http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2009/07/23/bc-hst-pst-gst.html
Job losses in the restaurant industry. And, did you know even funerals will be hit by this tax? http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/08/05/bc-hst-restaurant-owners-survey.html
BCBusiness Magazine http://www.bcbusinessonline.ca/bcb/bc-blogs/insider/2009/07/29/hst-high-handed-and-selfish-tax
I could only find one positive site about the HST, and that’s the government one http://www.gov.bc.ca/hst/

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More on the HST

This is the response sent by email to my letter:
From: “Office of the Premier, Premier@gov.bc.ca”



“Thank you for your email regarding the harmonized sales tax. I
appreciate receiving your concerns.

Since 2001, the government has taken significant steps to improve the
B.C. tax system. We have worked hard to reduce taxes for individuals and
to improve the competitiveness of B.C. business through the reductions
in personal and corporate income taxes and the elimination of corporate
capital taxes.

The HST is the single biggest thing we can do to improve B.C.’s economy.
I believe it is an essential step to make our businesses more
competitive, encourage billions of dollars in new investment, lower
costs on productivity and reduce administrative costs to B.C. taxpayers
and businesses. Most importantly, this will create jobs and generate
long-term economic growth that will in turn generate more revenue to
sustain and improve crucial public services like health care, education
and social services.

With a single HST tax rate, one substantially harmonized tax base, and
one set of administrative rules instead of the duplication that
currently exists with the PST, compliance costs for British Columbia
businesses are expected to fall by about $150 million annually. When
fully phased-in, British Columbia will also save about $30 million
annually in administrative costs due to the fact that the federal
government will administer the HST at no cost to the province. British
Columbia will also receive one-time funding of $1.6 billion from the
federal government which will help maintain vital public services such
as healthcare and education.

We strongly believe that switching to the HST is the most important
change we can make to ensure a strong and growing economy. Although
there will be adjustments required by British Columbians in the short
term, it is a decision which will pay dividends to all British
Columbians over the long term.

If you are interested in more details related to the announcement, you
can find more information at:
http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2009-2013/2009PREM0017-000141.h
tm .. or http://www.gov.bc.ca/hst/ — on the left side and bottom of
that page, there are separate sections relating to specific groups such
as businesses, individuals, highlighting the benefits of the HST.

If you are interested in knowing more about the Budget that was
presented in the Legislature today, you can find that information at the
following site: http://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/ The Minister’s speech
outlines some of the many benefits of the HST as well.

We do appreciate your taking the time to write.”

My thoughts in response to that:
I actually did read through most of the HST promo
webpages. All it did was serve to enforce my opinion.
I appreciate that it will save big industry and
government and that that savings is meant to filtre
down to the masses, but I simply don't see that
happening. I don't see this resulting in price
drops that will save the average Canadian.

And, I have already heard from many that they are
planning to cut their spending in areas that will
be increasing in cost by 7%. Just barely out of a
recession, cut spending risks putting us right
back into a bad economic state.


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HST

I emailed off the following letter to my MLA and to the premier. I sent it last week and have received no response. Don’t actually expect anything useful anyway, but I do feel it’s my duty and responsibility to do something. I think if we all do, something may happen. I recognize that the province needs money, but this is just not the way to do it.

I would like to express my extreme displeasure
and disatisfaction with the decision to enact
the HST. This is not a tax that will bring more
money into the province. It will hurt its citizens.
It will hurt small businesses.

I am a registered Dr. of Traditional Chinese
Medicine. I have to charge GST on all of my services
and products for my patients. I will have to charge
an extra 7% with the HST. That is a huge jump that
will make it harder for my patients to continue with
their health care. Our health care system is already
hugely burdoned by chronic illnesses. My patients
often pay out of pocket for their acupuncture treatments
and supplements. Those who do have insurance coverage
through their extended medical plans will be able to
receive either fewer treatments or pay more out of pocket.

It is not only complementary and alternative health care
providers and our patients that will be hurt by this tax.
Can you please tell me how small businesses, including
hairdressers, restaurants, veterinarians, and health stores
will benefit from the HST? Not only will I be paying more
for the services I use, but I may also be receiving a lower
income and I am the main provider for my family.

How do you propose that this "harmonized" sales tax will
bring more harmony into my--and others like me--life?

Am I missing something?
--
Dr. Melissa Carr, B.Sc., Dr.TCM
Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Active TCM -- Helping You Help Yourself
www.activetcm.com


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Updates after almost 2 years!

It’s been awhile since I last posted, but I’ve been meaning to get back to this for awhile. So many things to write about!

The most recent thing that comes to mind is the BC provincial government considering merging its sales tax with the federal tax for a “harmonized sales tax”, HST, of 12%. I’m NOT happy about this. As it is, my patients have to pay 5% for taxes every time they use my service. We should NOT have to pay tax on health services. If this does go through, that extra 7% will make a big difference!

(The Globe and Mail article)

What do you think?

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