Chilliwack Chamber urges ‘No’ vote in HST referendum

The Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce is urging Chilliwack residents to vote No and keep the harmonized sales tax in place.

The Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce is urging Chilliwack residents to vote No and keep the harmonized sales tax in place.

“This is one of the most important business decisions facing us today, and it is imperative that our community understand the implications involved with extinguishing the HST and returning to the antiquated GST/PST,” Lisa Caruth, the chamber’s executive director, said in a news release.

Caruth was not immediately available for comment.

But in the news release she said the chamber has supported the idea of a harmonized sales tax system in B.C. since 2002.

“If we return to the PST/GST tax regime, there is no question businesses will lose,” she said. “If businesses lose, consumers lose. If consumers lose, families lose,” she said.

The HST is a “straightforward consumption tax,” Caruth said, while the PST is a “cascade of compounding” charges that lead to higher taxes on investment.

“Removing investment penalties, such as the PST, will inevitably encourage job creation, better wages and economic growth,” she said.

Eligible voters must cast their referendum ballots before an Aug. 5.