HST gains support in new poll

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon has turned his neutral information campaign into a sales pitch for the new

VICTORIA – The harmonized sales tax and the referendum on its fate are still widely misunderstood, but support for returning to the old provincial sales tax is declining.

That’s the main finding of a poll released Thursday by Angus Reid Public Opinion. An online survey of 805 B.C. residents found 44 per cent intend to vote “no” in the mail-in referendum that gets underway this month.

A year ago, just before the HST took effect, the pollster found 82 per cent wanted to scrap it. The latest survey shows a substantial increase in support for the HST since the B.C. government offered to cut the rate by two points to 10 per cent over the next three years.

The poll also reflects confusion about the referendum question, which will ask voters if they want to “extinguish” the HST and return to the federal GST and the former PST at a combined rate of 12 per cent. One out of three respondents incorrectly believed that a “no” vote would get rid of the HST.

Opposition to the HST was stronger among women, younger people and rural residents. Women were 64 per cent opposed and people aged 18 to 34 were 62 per cent opposed. Residents of Metro Vancouver were evenly divided, while opponents were a clear majority in the Interior, the North and Vancouver Island.

One in four respondents said they have put off purchases such as a new car or television, goods that are taxed the same under GST-PST and HST.

The political battle over the HST continues as voters begin receiving their ballot packages in the mail. Finance Minister Kevin Falcon now estimates that killing the HST will cost B.C. $3 billion, including $1.2 billion in lost revenue and the cost to borrow and repay Ottawa’s $1.6 billion transition fund.

NDP leader Adrian Dix has begun a tour to urge people to restore the PST and GST at 12 per cent, arguing that the B.C. Liberal government can’t be trusted to lower the HST rate.

The poll asked people about the credibility of various sources. A majority said they trust small business owners and academics, while 40 per cent trust Premier Christy Clark and 35 per cent are inclined to believe Dix.

The highest ranked personality was former premier and Fight HST leader Bill Vander Zalm at 47 per cent.

Just Posted

Saanich passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Colwood Elementary gets new inclusive and accessible playground equipment

Parks and playgrounds on the West Shore have equipment for everyone

B.C. Guide dogs is looking for volunteer puppy raisers

Labrador retrievers need to learn obedience and socialization before heading to work

Greater Victoria businesses lose thousands of dollars in credit card scams

Affected businesses want to spread the word to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else

Tent city campers prepare to leave Uplands Park

Vehicle access remains restricted at Cattle Point

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for Oct. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

Most Read