Roughly one year from this week British Columbia will transition back to the former provincial sales tax taxation system.
With the official change date of April 1, 2013 there will be many changes in how provincial taxation is charged on a variety of different goods and services.
When the PST taxation system was first created more than 50 years ago, the B.C. economy was based largely on the sale of goods with a far smaller service industry.
Over the past decades the service industry has grown significantly.
It was not until the implementation of the harmonized sales tax that the extent of taxation being largely exempt on services became much more apparent.
Obviously from the perspective of the provincial government this also resulted in revenue exceeding original forcasts.
Going back to the former PST system will in most cases ensure that businesses who provide services will be largely PST exempt as opposed to those business who sell goods that will remain subject to the PST.
While the GST will continue to treat all business equally for those registrants currently collecting HST it will be important to be aware of pending changes and reporting requirements. It is also important to remember that any HST rebates that were put in place to offset the HST will no longer apply. Further information can be found on the www.hstinbc.ca website.
For potential new home purchasers looking to take advantage of the B.C. first time new home buyers program the deadline for this program is April 1, 2013.
For more information on the new home buyer’s credit visit http://www.hstinbc.ca/buying_goods/new-home-purchase-grant.
Another event scheduled to occur in roughly one year will be the dropping of the writ for the next British Columbia provincial general election occurring on May 14, 2013.
There are currently many demands facing B.C. taxpayers as cost pressures continue to rise as do expectations for increased services. Many taxpayers have spoken clearly against increases in taxation and at the same time some interest groups who also oppose taxation increases are in turn seeking support for increased government spending on a variety of different demands and services. I encourage taxpayers to research British Columbia’s fiscal situation over the next 12 months and also to be aware of increased spending for key government services such as healthcare and education that continue to outpace other service areas of government.
On a different topic I would also like to take a moment to thank many of the mayors, councillors, school trustees and regional district directors throughout our Okanagan valley region.
I have worked with many different mayors and councils over the years including different regional district directors.
Often this work involves partnership efforts on behalf of important projects that move our region forward.
While being the target of criticism is a regular part of the job in public office, recently I have noted a trend where some comments towards mayors and councillors have become increasingly personal.
It is fair to offer criticism and to disagree; however, it is not fair to make personal attacks.
We have much to be thankful for in this region and many of the completed projects that help enhance our quality of life are a result of the collaborative efforts of elected officials at all levels of government working together.
There are projects that at times present challenges and there can be different opinions as to what are costs and benefits.
That said, if we can keep our tone and our criticisms respectful and constructive we can maintain an atmosphere that encourages people to run for public office to make a difference in our various communities.
Bill Barisoff is MLA for Penticton.