HST OP-ED: Consumers hurt by extra taxes

Carole James weighs in on the HST

Ballots for the HST referendum are in the mail and here are the reasons why New Democrats are voting “Yes” to end the HST.

The Liberals’ HST punishes families. I cannot justify the nearly $2-billion a year tax shift from large corporations to consumers and I don’t believe my constituents can either.

Partisan stick men ads, paid for with public funds, cannot conceal the fact that many more things are now taxed under the HST, which is why it costs B.C. families more.

With the HST, families are simply paying seven per cent more for everything from haircuts, restaurant meals, a daily coffee, fees for children’s sports programs and summer camp and repairing a leaky roof.

A two-income family with both parents making $50,000 is paying over $1,000 more per year under the HST, and that doesn’t include big-ticket items such as a new home or renovations.

British Columbians work hard, but thanks to the HST, a good home is more out of reach than ever.

Small businesses are hurt by the HST.When our dollars don’t go as far, family-owned businesses that depend on our spending will see a drop in sales. Service industries in our community such as tourism, construction and the restaurant sector are hit especially hard.

Many businesses are already struggling to survive and the HST could be a final blow.

We need a focus on prevention in health care, but under the HST you pay seven per cent more on nutritional supplements, acupuncture and other complementary health services. These things previously had zero provincial sales tax.

We should be encouraging action on climate change, but under the HST you pay seven per cent more for bicycles, energy efficient appliances and home renovations. We should be focused on local food production, but under the HST you pay seven per cent more on garden plants for your garden.

Voters know the Liberals cannot be trusted, especially when it comes to the HST. The Liberals said they were against it before the election, then they brought it in. They said it would be revenue-neutral, when it clearly is not. They said it would create more than 100,000 new jobs and lower prices, but those claims have been shown to be false.

B.C. families know the HST is bad for them, and they remember how the Liberals lied to them when they brought it in.

That is why New Democrats are encouraging all British Columbians to vote “yes” to scrap the HST in the referendum.

Carole James is the New Democrat MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill.

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