MLA responds to Harmonized Sales Tax criticism

Dear Joe,

In response to your letter in last weeks paper...Yes Joe, the BC Liberals did purposely mislead and deceive the public and the taxpayers in the last election over the HST.

Editor’s note: The following was received as an open letter to last week’s letter writer.

Dear Joe,

In response to your letter in last weeks paper…Yes Joe, the BC Liberals did purposely mislead and deceive the public and the taxpayers in the last election over the HST.

And Joe, if you had done your homework you would have found out that the sales tax actually dropped significantly in the Maritime Provinces when the HST came in

– Newfoundland and Labrador’s tax went from a combined tax of 19 per cent to 15 per cent to 13 per cent and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick went from 18.7 per cent to 15 per cent to 13 per cent.

So, as you see Joe, the HST was a significant tax cut for those families in the Maritimes, not a painful and deceitful increase added to hundreds of goods and services.

The BC Liberal plan is to shift 1.8 billion dollars onto families. Former BC Liberal Finance Minster Carole Taylor rejected the HST because the “tax takes $1.8 billion off of businesses and puts it on consumers”.

Now Joe, you referred to Quebec and if you had done some more research you would have learned that Quebec’s HST, brought in over two decades ago, is totally different and bears little resemblance to the HST scheme that the BC Liberals are trying to sneak in.

Quebec’s HST does not exempt large companies and businesses from sales tax on business expenses unlike the HST we are faced with.

Also Quebec still has control of its’ own sales tax, the QST, and the federal GST, while we in BC will hand over and lose complete control of our provincial sales tax to Stephen Harper.

Also the Manitoba and Saskatchewan governments have both rejected the HST, as it would increase the sales tax burden on families from 54 per cent to 86 per cent.

Finally Joe, you comment about what to expect from an NDP government.

I waould like to you remind you about the 10 years of real progress in BC for working families where we saw:

*The lowest unemployment rate in 20 years

*The greatest job growth in Canada – up 24 per cent

*The economy grew 3.4 per cent in 2000

*The 2nd highest wage in Canada

*The highest minimum wage in Canada

*The best small business growth in Canada – from 1991 to 2000 up 6.8 per cent per year

*The 2nd lowest provincial debt per person

*The books balanced for the last 3 budgets

*Advanced education went from the 2nd worst to the 2nd best in Canada, with tuition fees 44 per cent lower than Alberta and Ontario with the most comprehensive student assistance programs in Canada

*The best record in North America for the environment

*A real commitment to social justice, fairness and respect for all

* One of the best records on our commitment to healthcare and education.

These are some of the accomplishments from our NDP government from 1991 until 2001.

So Joe, please do not hesitate to give me a call or even visit our fair region from your hometown of Duncan, if you would like to discuss any issue whatsoever.

Thanks for your letter.

Take care

Gary Coons

MLA North Coast