Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Harmonize this! Why the BC Harmonized Sales Tax is the biggest consumer rip-off we've ever seen

Be very afraid of the HST

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours and The Tyee column

Tuesday July 28, 2009


More than 10,000 have joined my Facebook protest group NO BC HST!!!

"This is the single biggest thing we can do to improve B.C.'s economy."

-- Premier Gordon Campbell

Be very afraid. The B.C. Liberals' planned Harmonized Sales Tax is the biggest rip-off of British Columbians imaginable.

Rather than "improve" B.C.'s economy, the HST will force ordinary British Columbians to pay an extra 7 per cent on a wide range of consumer goods and services -- from restaurant meals to haircuts to bicycles to new homes to airline tickets to funeral services and much more.

That additional tax will force many to cut their expenditures just at a time when the recession is already damaging the economy -- the last thing we should be doing.

It will particularly devastate certain sectors of the economy, especially restaurants, by forcing consumers to pay an extra 7 per cent on the food portion of all meals.

It will add an extra 7 per cent cost to a wide range of professional services, including accounting, architecture, household renovations, home care, massage therapy, dry cleaning, repair services for appliances and more.

A favour to big biz

So who benefits? Big business. That's why the B.C. Business Council, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters and a host of other business groups are supporting the tax.

The HST will transfer $1.9 billion from individuals and give that money to big business.

Theoretically, businesses could reduce prices by 7 per cent because they can recover the PST they now pay. But if you think that will happen say hi to the Easter Bunny for me.

Who else benefits? The B.C. Liberal government, which will get $1.6 billion from the Stephen Harper Conservative federal government to "implement" the HST -- money it can spend however it likes.

And guess what? B.C. will still dramatically slash public services because the new tax revenue will only offset reduced taxes on big business.

Poorest will be hardest hit

The HST is a highly regressive tax. That is, it disproportionately impacts lower income earners because far more of their limited income will be spent paying the tax than higher income earners.

If we need a tax increase to pay for public services in the recession, the government should be using a temporary progressive income tax increase, not a permanent regressive one.

Improve B.C.'s economy? Give me a break! This is a pure tax grab and transfer.

Take restaurant meals -- currently consumers pay no Provincial Sales Tax on the food portion -- only on alcohol sales. 

After the HST comes in, you will pay an extra 7 per cent on the food.

And guess what happens?

Restaurant sales go down. Servers and staff see reduced sales, hours of work and tips.


The restaurant industry is blunt in its assessment of what happened and the unhappy results.

"This government made a promise less than three months ago to the people of British Columbia that there would be no new taxes," says Mark von Schellwitz of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association.

"Harmonization will result in a permanent tax shift of hundreds of millions of dollars to our customers."

And take my own consulting business West Star Communications -- I currently am obliged to charge the 5 per cent GST on services.

With the HST it appears -- the government still hasn't given proper guidelines -- that I will have to charge an extra 7 per cent for a massive total of 12 per cent on services.

This is an increase in taxation of more than double with no, repeat, no change in anything I or my clients do! I'm sure my clients will not be happy to pay more taxes for the same work. 

That goes for other professional services. Every one of them has to charge an extra 7 per cent. And guess who will pay? Their customers.

The only benefits of the HST are for big businesses that can flow through the costs to their customers!

In May, BC Libs misled

The BC Liberals expressly rejected the idea of an HST during the last election -- misleading voters once again about their true intentions, just like with the sale of BC Rail, the size of the 2009 budget deficit and current health care cuts.

"A harmonized goods and services tax is not something that is contemplated in the B.C. Liberal election platform," was the governing party's identically worded reply to both the Greater Vancouver Homebuilders' Association and the Restaurant and Food Services Association.

And there has been zero, no, nada, nyet consultation with the public about even the idea of an HST -- just the surprise imposition of an unfair tax! 

But there's still time to stop this tax grab.

You can start by joining my new Facebook protest group, NO BC HST.

The B.C. Liberals shouldn't get away with imposing an unfair tax that they denied even considering -- and then ripping off consumers permanently!


Anonymous said...

The Toronto Star reports this morning that Andrea Horworth, the NDP leader in Ontario as well as the new conservative leader in Ontario have been travelling and speaking and gathering signatures on petitions to deliver to Dalton McGinty in opposition to the proposed HST in that province. They have been very vocal and have given the population a venue and method of substantial protest.
Where is the leadership in this province? It seems that only the business talking heads are the ones given media coverage.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bill great idea starting up an HST protest group, problem is there are a lot of us out here who hate facebook and refuse to join that webite (for so many various and obvious reasons). Just wish you had an alternative forum where we could still participate in the HST protest.

DPL said...

The business page of the T/C today written by a CanWest reporter has Hanson dancing around and trying to explain how the tax wasn't on the governments radar and not part of the election chatter. But suddenly Ontario agreed to the tax so to prevent BC from losing a competative edge they just had to do the tax. The hotel folks don't believe him and most thinking people dont either. Hasnen says its here to stay. Might get interesting as more large associations keep calling the present government a bunch of fibbers

Anonymous said...

You'll love this one!


DPL said...

I just noticed a few minutes ago, Tue afternoon that Hansen is offering money to a group ( Resterant )that had till now been against this new tax. If they buy it, it simply shows tha throwing money at bad polciy still wotks in BC. Too bad they coulnd;t throw some money toward child poverty, or planned closures of hospital wards.

Anonymous said...

another way up rev up gst 7 to 5 to hst.?

lyrahs said...

it is an outrage. are we as canadians about to allow this to arbitraly (sP) to just happen.
\enough is enough..it is about time that bc'ers stand and be outraged and stop accepting every
every single law to just happen. where is our backbone..where is our sense of outrage.
Let us all plan a day or a week of demonstration.
We our voices be heard..

lyrahs said...

Enough...it is time to taker matters into our own hands..let us plan a demonstration...for a day a week a month...
whatever it will take. as canadians we are much tooi complacent...it all rings of a time in history when the aniamls have taken over the zoo.

lyrahs said...

i am not prepared to simply post a comment on this site. let us all pool together and fight this plot. the powers that be simply believe that we will all just accept this this arbitrary move. come on people of. Count me in.

Anonymous said...

The people of this Province have to do something about this crap. How much abuse do we take? We need to take the Province back from the businesses who only care about the bottom line and we have to show the politicians we mean business.

We need some European style of public discontent. Over there the politican weasels listen, over here they just brush us off.

Kam Lee said...

Well gordo the drunk, collin the lier, have shown their true colours again. This group of
thieves, liers, and con-men need to be replaced. Start the petition Bill, give them both
barrels. Remember all you righties, and by the way you are very quiet now, try to focus on
the now. Never mind sifting thru the crap fed to you by the drunk and his buddies.
Realize what is happening. He is raping you, me, us. He has killed, maimed, and has
destroyed lives since he has been in. It's time to take our province back. Enough of the
only elected official that has been convicted of drug abuse. Yes booze is a drug. Why has
he asked everyone else to step down, but not him? Why? Enough of the lies, give us our
province back!

Unknown said...

We have a petition going:


Already over 350 signatures.

Anonymous said...

I read in the G&M that Hansen is contemplating making consessions to the restaraunteurs to help 'em swallow the HST.

It's not just the restaraunt industry being affected by this regressive tax grab, therefore Hansen should be making consessions for EVERYONE affected. And just how do you do that? Forget the $1.6 billion bribe and stick with the current PST/GST model.

"He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual." -- Thomas Jefferson


Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the procedures and requirements for impeachment of a sitting premier?

Seems to me the blatant lies, corruption, patronizing of friends and associates, the tax increases, the backroom deals, the cuts to health care, libraries........in short, all the things he lied about to maintain his "good to be the king of BC" power trip........should be enough to do it.


Anonymous said...

Facebook licks in my opinion, and I don't trust it. So I'll go here instead;


Powell river persuader said...

Hansen can`t make any concessions to restraurants,the reason?Read Vaughn Palmers last column,The deal with the feds doesn`t allow for exemptions,it`s a take it or leave it deal........
The only concessions for food outlets would have to come from the municipal level,and considering the municipalities are broke,for them to give concessions they would have to pass it on to residential tax-payers!

The bottom line,there is only one tax-payer,even the 1.6 billion$$$ federal bribe is YOUR MONEY that Stephen Harper has BORROWED to give to Campbell,again,there is only one tax-payer!

G West said...


Recall is an electoral device that allows voters to petition for the removal of a Member of the Legislative Assembly from office between elections.

Any registered voter in British Columbia can apply for a petition to recall their MLA. The voter must submit a completed application form to Elections BC with a processing fee of $50.

The application must include a
statement of up to 200 words why, in the opinion of the voter, the Member should be recalled.

A Member cannot be subject to recall during the first 18 months
following their election.

If the voter meets the application requirements, the applicant (called a “proponent”) will receive a petition within seven days. The proponent then has 60 days to collect signatures from more than 40 percent of the voters who were
registered to vote in the Member’s electoral district in the last election – and who are still registered as voters in British Columbia.

Volunteers (called
“canvassers”) may help the proponent collect signatures.
When the proponent has submitted all the signed petition sheets, Elections BC has 42 days to verify that enough valid signatures have been collected. Within 28 days
after Elections BC has received the petition, financial agents must file a recall financing report. If enough valid signatures are on the petition and the proponent
has complied with the financing rules
, the Member ceases to hold office and a by-election must be called within 90 days. A recalled Member can run as a
candidate in the by-election.

The whole process is managed and administered by Elections BC...

Kam Lee said...

By the way... where is gordo? Is he drying out, is he babysitting his new family, is he hiding hoping the shit does not stick to him? We have had enough of this carpetbagger! Give us back our province!

Anonymous said...

The MoU between BC and Ottawa on Harper's Sales Tax in here: [.PDF] http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/Fed_Prov_MOU_english_July23.pdf

Rod Smelser said...

I agree that this issue is an appropriate cause for recall of MLAs who are implicated in a scheme to intentionally mislead voters.

Given the time it takes to conclude a Federal/Provincial agreement of this magnitude, it must have been under discussion for months, if not years, well prior to May's provincial general election.

While an HST framework may be preferable in terms of economic theory, provided there are appropriate credits for lower income people, there is an overarching issue of trust and confidence.

Also, I think the HST needs to be analysed by some economists specializing in public finance alongside the carbon tax and its associated revenue-neutralizing tax reductions. That analysis could be undertaken by an economist(s) from one of BC's public universities. However, given the strongly declared support this group has already offered for the carbon tax, perhaps an economist from a university elsewhere would be preferable.

Anonymous said...

I encourage every retailer who is anti HST to show on every receipt the amount with the HST added. This will shake up some of the great unwashed when they see how much it will cost. Ie a $20 meal with just Gst is $21 with HST it is $22.40. Yes a big ripoff.

rav said...

The only way we can stop this is to make storm... sign the petition, talk to your MLAs and lets end the madness


Anonymous said...

Carole James is going to fight this. Sign the petition today: www.bcndp.ca/hstpetition

DPL said...

A lot of folks decided not to support the NDP during the election because they were considered poor handlers of money. They didn't help themselves when they took the phony budget figures and used them for their own list of nice things to do. Now Ms. Dithers has woke up and has a little petition going . A bit slow on the draw Ms. James. But she tends to check around to see what folks have been mad about for a few days or weeks before making her play for support. Gordo has the government majority and by God we will be eating anything he decides to do till he decides to retire on some corporate boards. The tax will soon be forgotten as let's face it we seem to love to pay taxes. The economy will eventually sort itself out, and social issues are not a problem to his gang. when in doubt, dream up another tax. Did anyone notice that the Cabinet in these tough times got larger rather than smaller? Next time around, maybe the folks who actually believed the line of BS being spread will get up off their seats and spend a few minutes in a polling booth. But don't hold your breath. question period will be noisy for awhile but if the opposition gets too much of a bother, hell Gordo with either not show up or shut the place down early.

Keisha said...

Don't want to pay 7% more tax to the lying BC Liberal Government? http://www.bcndp.ca/hstpetition

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking action. It's outrageous and another broken promise.

We can't let them get away with this.

Sign the petition to say no to hst.


GAWD said...

yes, thank you anon. 8:34 AM, you have shown us that with math you can figure out how much is 7%, now all you need is some common sense and some semblance of critical thinking to see how much that adds up, especially for families with small children on fixed incomes, dumbass

Anonymous said...

Bill I'm amazed at how you let idiotic comment's like 8:34's go by ,but you let some of my golly geez' dat's a big un get through,and have to go to work with a bunch of shill's on n dub....Boy you have the patients of a saint!

Anonymous said...

I spoke to a rep of the Dept of Finance in Victoria. She told me his tax is NOT revenue neutral and they never claimed it was. This means the cost to consumers is way more than 1.9B per year. Everyone should email their MLA and ask a simple question. 'What is the total consumers will pay annually under HST?' Very simple question. Good luck getting the answer.

Anonymous said...

I strongly disapprove of the HST. Minister Hansen says that the HST is 'Here to Stay' then our answer to that is the present provincial government 'Will not Stay'. We will vote with our pockets as long as our short term memory serves us well.

brad said...

I have a suggestion that may appeal to you, Bill. How about on the first day of the legislature, as many citizens as possible show up at the legislature lawns for a picnic. No signs, no speakers....just a lawn full of citizens, and ALL OF THEM WEARING GORDON CAMPBELL MAUI MUGHSOT TSHIRTS!!! (preferably with a caption along the lines of "rehabilitate criminals-elect them premier"

Anonymous said...

A few things may go up in price, but a heck of a lot of other things will go down in price. Why? Try a scenario:

Manufacturer (M) buys inputs for $100 and pays $7 pst; sells to Intermediary (I) for $150 who pays $10.50 pst; sells to Store (S) for $200, and S pays $14 pst; sells to Consumer (C) who buys for $250 + 17.50.
So here, bus. made $43+39.50+36=$118.5 profit; consumer pays $267.50 for the good. ($31.50 tax revenue)

With HST:
(M) pays $100, sells to (I) $145, sells to (S) $186, sells to (C) $224, who pays HST 26.88; so (C) pays $250.88.
Bus makes $45+41+38=$124 profit = more prof = let's move our business to BC and hire their workers. ($26.88 tax revenue = less, but far less admin costs under this method)

Anonymous said...

Can you believe that,they write up a deal in the summer(maybe) then pretend to take it to the legislature in Sept,pretend to debate, ram it through in March,and we start paying in July sounds like a done deal to me?But who am I just another pee on!Why waste all that money on these institutions?We should vote next time and maybe outsource,let's say a government?A police force?Maybe from India ,some judges,maybe some lawyers a little justice too, after all this system is costing a fortune and accomplishes nothing,and the costs keep going up and soon it'll be unsustainable, Just a little goose for their gander! Food for thought?

Anonymous said...

Four things B.C. can do without.Gordon Campbell and his organized crime gang,The criminal institution known as Translink,The Campbellympic Vanoc dictatorship and the brutal debt it will incurr and the heaping pile of verbal fertilizer building in Victoria.No election,no recall,simply cut the head off the dragon and throw whats left in jail and let it rot,with no pay or benifits

Chris Green said...

A recall is total, B.S., in my opinion. Why play by the rules when it's obvious that the government will almost certainly invalidate a recall? Plus, it takes too long.

NO. I vote that either a general strike or a tax revolt will be the only things that cause this situation to change. Personally, I'm sick of being taxed into oblivion, not just in BC, but Canada as whole.

Anonymous said...


1. Campbell trying to find money for his retirement.

2. Harper's solution to rape the purses of citizen's.

3. deceit in the first degree.

Anonymous said...

It's all fine and dandy to complain on website and blog but this government don't gives a rats tail about complainers, we've been complaining about Gordo and Handsen for years and looks where it got us, with a chain around our necks (Poor, middle Class) that gets tighter and tighter evey year,We should surround the Legislative Assembly with thousands and thousers of voters and voices our negatives feelings about this unjust way of squeezing more money out of the not so well off so the richest among them can get richer. I'm waiting with much impatience for someone to carry that torch to Victoria, I swear I'll be there too.