B.C. prepares for HST decision

Former Alberta finance minister Jim Dinning

Jim Dinning admits that it’s ironic for a former Alberta finance minister to be asked to weigh the merits of B.C.’s two choices for sales taxes.

But now out of politics and serving as chancellor of the University of Calgary, Dinning is chairing an independent review panel to compare the harmonized sales tax with B.C.’s former provincial sales tax before a referendum on the HST later this year.

Also named to the panel are former B.C. auditor-general George Morfitt, Simon Fraser University professor John Richards and Tracie Redies, CEO of Coast Capital Savings.

Their report is due April 1, and will make no recommendation on either the HST or the PST, Dinning told Black Press.

“Polling showed that people don’t feel they have all the facts they need, and they’re looking for an independent source rather than just the government information source,” he said.

The Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation is making a recommendation to voters: keep the HST and demand a lower rate to reflect the broader base of the new sales tax.

Gregory Thomas, the CTF’s communications director for B.C., says voting “no” in the referendum would kill off the “63-year-old relic” of the PST. He argues that the federal government reduced the Goods and Services Tax from seven to five per cent, and B.C. could do the same.

“Here in B.C. the government could have introduced the HST at a lower rate,” Thomas said. “Instead they chose to create an expensive and confusing rat’s maze of exemptions, credits and loopholes for special interests, and pay for it by charging ordinary taxpayers an exorbitant seven-per-cent HST rate.”

Thomas noted that if the HST rate were lowered, credits paid to a million low-income B.C. residents would also come down.

For special interests, he cited home builders, who benefit from HST credits and also successfully lobbied the province to raise the exemption for new home construction to $525,000. Resale housing is not subject to HST.

The B.C. government also launched a new website at www.hstinbc.ca to offer videos and answers to frequently asked questions about the change from PST to GST.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Bloodhounds join the search for missing Chilliwack woman

Petsearchers Canada arrive in town Monday afternoon to help out

‘No little nook and cranny that’s too small’ in search for Chilliwack woman, say RCMP

Residents urged by police to assist in search for Grace Baranyk by checking property thoroughly

Search continues for missing elderly woman in Chilliwack

RCMP, Chilliwack Search and Rescue and community members combing area for Grace Baranyk

Big Chill a hot event in Langley

Flight Museum holds “ask the pilot panel” and demos flights for young pilots over the weekend

VIDEO: Hiker airlifted from Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park Sunday

Park east of Chilliwack popular with tourist and B.C. residents who walk up to the falls

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Most Read