Taxation is a complex subject. I know because I make my living at it. Nobody likes paying taxes but taxes are a necessary evil. What we really dislike is that we know they should be about half of what they are. However, if we have to have taxes, consumption or value-added taxes like the HST are the best kind. Virtually every economist and accountant in the western world would favour HST-style taxes over any other type of tax. The reason they favour it is because it is transparent. The provincial sales tax was not transparent and was often embedded in the supply chain resulting in a tax that was frequently in excess of seven per cent. Consumers only ever saw the last seven per cent charged.
The future funding of our health care system will be much better served with the HST than a return to a provincial sales tax with GST.
Yes, the Liberals did a very poor job of introducing the HST. Its positive effects are not obvious as the tax was introduced in recessionary times. And, yes, some things now have HST at 12 per cent when they only had five per cent GST previously. Bicyles are an example as your recent article against HST alluded to. However, what about all of the high-end bikes that were sold with no PST? It seems to me that expensive bikes should have born PST on their purchase. With the HST, now they will. The HST has leveled the playing field.
The HST is by no means perfect. It you thought it would solve all of our problems, you were sadly mistaken. However, it is the lesser of two evils. If it changes to 10 per cent, it’s even better. Hence, I will vote to retain this tax because the alternative is unacceptable.
chartered accountant, Vernon