Monday, May 23, 2011

What the HST will cost us - and why BC should vote "YES" to extinguish the HST in June referendum

Bill Tieleman signs Fight HST citizens Initiative petition April 14, 2010
in Vancouver-Point Grey riding
What the HST is costing us – and why it should go in June’s referendum

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday May 24, 2011

By Bill Tieleman

In terms of the revenue of the HST, it's roughly the same as the revenue we currently get from the PST.

-        B.C. Finance Minister Colin Hansen, August 13, 2009

The B.C. Liberal government said they wouldn’t impose a Harmonized Sales Tax before the May 2009 election.

Afterwards they did.

Hansen and then-Premier Gordon Campbell said the HST would be “revenue neutral” for government.

Now their hand-picked Independent Panel discovered the HST is raising a whopping extra $820 million a year from your pocket.

And none of it is budgeted to pay for needed public services.

New Premier Christy Clark claims she will “fix” the HST with “smart” moves.

Yeah, right. 

But the only real way to fix this dumb tax is to vote “Yes” to extinguish the HST in the binding mail ballot referendum in June.

Because it’s not hard to figure out the HST is costing you lots of money.

The HST adds an extra 7% to hundreds of goods and services  that were not subject to the Provincial Sales Tax in the past.

The Independent Panel calculates that if your household family income is $40,000 to $60,000 you pay an extra $366 a year in HST.

But for a two-income earning family with both members making $50,000 each – the average B.C. wage – the HST costs you over $1,000 a year!

Those numbers are conservative and don’t include spending major coin on a home renovation or repair.  A $20,000 new roof will set you back an extra $1,400 and for a $50,000 kitchen reno add $3,500.

That’s causing some consumers to pay cash to avoid the entire HST and save the total 12% tax.  But it means honest businesses suffer and their customers pay more while government loses revenue to the black market.

And heaven help you if you want to buy a new home – because the HST adds 7% to anything costing over $525,000 when Vancouver’s average house price is over $1 million. That means on an $825,000 home the extra HST is a cool $21,000.

But even on everyday items you can quickly see how the HST adds up to far more than $366 a family.

My cable TV bill alone shows I’m paying $8 a month in HST while my telephone costs me $7 monthly in HST for a total of $180 on just two basic items!

My condominium fees went up because the HST is charged on cleaning, maintenance and other services – costing me an extra $160 a year.

And our family eats a lot of restaurant food at an extra 7%.  Spend $2,000 a year, add $140 in HST.

Even a cappuccino or coffee and doughnut break at $4 every work day will add up to an extra $67 a year in HST.

My wife and daughter fly to Winnipeg annually to visit family – add $84 to the $1,200 ticket price or to any domestic plane, train or bus travel.

Go to a Canucks game, movie, ballet or work out at the gym or play golf and pay 7% more every time.  For some, that means hundreds more in HST costs.

And the list of extra 7% HST charged is very long. 

Add in taxis, parking, dry cleaning, vitamins, massage therapy, over-the-counter medications, newspaper and magazine subscriptions, bicycles, safety helmets, camping sites, shoe repair, some school supplies, snack foods, haircuts, manicures and pedicures, tailoring, landscaping, accounting, veterinarian visits, computer and appliance repairs – even wedding planners and funerals cost 7% more!

But don’t worry – a few things actually have slightly less tax with the HST. 
Luxury vehicles worth more than $55,000 and disposable baby diapers – go crazy!

The enormous cost of this tax is why I helped form Fight HST with former Premier Bill Vander Zalm, former Unity Party leader Chris Delaney and others, which led a successful citizens Initiative campaign that forced this referendum.

The B.C. Liberal government is spending $5 million of your tax dollars on an advertising campaign telling you to keep the HST. 

Big businesses in the misnamed Smart Tax Alliance are spending many millions more on pricey TV ads with accountants who say the HST is “good” for you.

Nonsense!  Vote Yes to extinguish the HST – and save your money!



Anonymous said...

Bill, We owe you and the Zalm, a huge thank you for, fighting for the BC people.

We knew the HST was really going to hurt the province at the people, and it has.

BC is still losing jobs. Small businesses are still closing their doors. Campbell and Hansen's lie, the HST would create good paying jobs. Where are these jobs? And now, the mills are installing automation, there will be many more mill people laid off. What will they do?

Where is the money Campbell and Hansen promised we would save, from the HST? All the HST has done, is drive the cost of living, right out into orbit.

The HST was just a scam of, Campbell, Hansen and Harper, to thieve from the BC people, to give to the wealthiest corporations in the world. Those big businesses, are who the three of them are working for. Harper hands those, greedy giant corporations, billions of our tax dollars. Harper just gave them another reduction, which will come off our paychecks.

Our tax dollars belong to us, not to Harper to pee away. Harper, Campbell and Hansen, steal our money we need for the services, in which, we pay through the nose for. Hansen's stacked HST study panel, is the chuckle of the year. They did a royal screw-up. What a farce.

The HST is a scam, and illegal to boot. I am sick to death of, this BC Liberal crime family. Liars, thieves, corruption, criminal charges, arrogance, dirty tactics, hate, spite, malice, and so vindictive, the BC Liberals sanity, is in serious doubt.

There is nothing in this province, that isn't corrupt. As far as trusting Elections BC's counting of votes. We have caught Craig James in corruption before.

Hansen wants a new name for their party, how about, the BC Liberal Crime Family? Suits them to a T.

RonS said...

It's very simple, the HST goes directly to business's bottom line. It doesn't fund government infrastructure, schools, the medical plan, social services and a host of other programs currently or were currtenlty provided prior to the 2001 election. Vote yes to remove the HST!

Tom Richardson said...

"Now their hand-picked Independent Panel discovered the HST is raising a whopping extra $820 million a year from your pocket."

That extra $820 million figure would equate to a 1% reduction in the HST - from 12% to 11% to keep the thing revenue neutral.

Since the HST (formerly combined GST/PST) has not changed on 80% of all purchases, an HST tax drop from 12% to 11% will also make a difference overall.

I would have preferred that the former GST/PST combo remain in place (if it ain't broke don't fix it), but since we are already here with the HST, might as well reduce the rate to 11% and 10% if that's financially viable for provincial coffers.

And yes, the $1.6 billion federal HST "bribe" will also then remain in provincial coffers.

A 10% - 11% BC HST rate sounds a helluva lot better than the 15% HST rate adopted by the New Democrat Nova Scotia gov't.

Time to move on from this long-running political fiasco and make the HST rate more palatable to the public.

Anonymous said...

Why can`t political opponents to the HST call it what it
is, corporate welfare, instead of tax shift.

WE who oppose this tax should talk in precise language.

DPL said...

anon 9:37 got it right. It is corporate welfare, and the corporations make tons of money at our expense. Voting to keep the HST is a no brainer.

Anonymous said...

I hate the HST. I'm voting NO!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you, Bill. As a senior citizen, all I care about is myself and today. I don't go to movies so forget about the local movie industry. My end will come soon so I also don't care about future jobs for young people. Let's focus on Today and do away with all this stuff about future generations. We fought enough battles and wars for our kids. No more.

Gary E said...

All this talk about keeping the HST and possibly reducing the percentage is folly.
In bringing in this theft the Liberals have given away the provinces right to set their own tax rate. If this money grab is finalized the Feds will set the rate and there is nothing we can do about it. We will have no say.
As Far as Clark saying she is going to tweak it. How is she going to do that? If she drops the percentage points it will just stay that way until they get elected again, and it will get raised back to or higher than it was before.
Clark and her business buddies appear to be avoiding the main point in this. It is a tax shift unburdening corporations at the expense of the voters. Anon 9:37 and DPL are absolutely right. This is nothing more than Corporate Welfare.

Anonymous said...

If people thing they owe the Zalm something, they're more nutter than his religious followers.

More of the same negativity. Let's see some positive alternatives.

That "corporate welfare" is a start, but wears thin, since many small businesses are technically corporations, and everyone buys from a large corporation anyway. We'll start with Microsoft, go through Orca Bay Entertainment, and follow through Google etc.

cherylb said...

We should challenge these "accountants" to explain how the HST is "good" for us. They keep going around making statements without backing them up. I call BS.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry folks, at least Christy will look at you and smile while this ongoing theft of our tax dollars continue.....enjoy it you voted for it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill, keep up the fight. I like comments about the HST being corporate welfare. Can that be played up? And this

Anyway to create an equivalent message against the HST to go viral? I don't see ordinary citizens being used to promote the "benefits" of HST ---because they are not benefiting in their everyday life.

G West said...

Don't forget guys - to ax the tax you have to vote YES - not NO.

Like everything that comes out of elections BC these days - you have to watch out for spin...

Anonymous said...

The no HST was an election lie. Campbell knew he would lose, so he and Hansen lied, to ensure Campbell's re-election. Harper was in on the scam too.

The HST has not done one iota of good for the BC people. It never was intended to. Yet, right to this day, the BC Liberals can still look us in the face and lie, and say how much good, the HST has done for us. We can tell by our wallets, we can't make it to the end of the month anymore.

So Christy, can the crap, stop lying. The HST is doing very terrible damage, to "your families first" b.s.lies. We are hurting the most, our children are doing with out. I resent your bloody, lying to us.

Even Mr. Mikes and The Pantry restaurants, are closing their doors, because the HST has killed them too. When we could still eat out for a treat, that's where we went, to Mr. Mikes. And that's what the franchise owner told us. The HST killed him.

Anonymous said...

The HST is a boondoggle, and the upcoming vote offers a lose-lose proposition.

Cancel it, and we get either a massive debt or a huge reduction in the size of government.

Keep it, and we reward the BC Liberals for their lies and deceit.

It seems to me that the libertarians within the BC Liberal caucus - with a little help from their old friend BVZ - played their cards very well on this one.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:56, nice sarcasm. Though I don't see any basis in fact in your argument.

Corporate welfare is not good for the common people. It is good for the wealthy.

This tax shift is continual, that's why they push to lower income taxes and and cut corporate taxes. They want to move right over to consumer taxes, so that the wealthy who influence the policy decisions, get to keep their ill-gotten booty.

I think you are mislead by the wealthy economists and right wing fraser institute.

Bill, this post was kind of disappointing, it hasn't said anything you haven't said before. It's just the same old shopping list.

We need to look deeper into how our governments policies have allowed or encouraged the gap between the rich and the poor to grow so much, how these tax policies favor them, and how the most profitable companies are sitting on their capital, rather then investing it in jobs. They don't need more money, they simply desire it.

In the meantime they tell us that the poorest people are better off having the tax burden shifted to them, and that they can't possibly be paid more or they would have to cut jobs. I call BS. These wealthy corporations are not simply getting by where they can. They are making as much as they possibly can, they can afford to eat the cost of the tax as a cost of doing business, they just don't want too. Why would they? But the sad part is they have convinced the peasants that they can't afford it, that it absolutely has to be paid for by the poor.

Frak the rich.
Frak our broken corporatist system.

Peter Ennis said...

G west go back to your cave. Those who hate hst will vote NO!!!! Learn to read bozo the clown. Old people can't even read.

Adrian B. said...

The Independent Panel [sic] calculates that if your household family income is $40,000 to $60,000 you pay an extra $366 a year in HST.

I wonder if that low-balled figure was in part underestimated due to the panel's absurd delusion that most of the savings for business have already been passed along to consumers. You're probably right Bill, the real cost to most British Columbians every year is more likely in the 4 figures, and without, of course, any demonstrable benefit materializing for them whatsoever by paying it.

Hi Bill, keep up the fight. I like comments about the HST being corporate welfare.

Yeah, it's corporate welfare all right. And reverse socialism: maybe the largest redistribution of wealth in the history of the province from the poor to the rich and business.

And this

Anyway to create an equivalent message against the HST to go viral?

Let's be careful, the video hasn't gone viral, the media is just desperately trying to hype this amateurish and economically illiterate rant as much as they can because of their pro-HST bias. But for all the attention they've given it, it still barely has any hits. Not surprising though, given its quality. It's about on the same level of some crank throwing together a 9/11 Truth video in a couple hours. Mocking Vander Zalm is not very challenging, pretty weak that this talentless shill can't even find anything remotely funny or witty to say about him in his puerile and misinformed little rant.

Anonymous said...

Has the HST trickle down savings, for big business, "trickled" down to anyone? I didn't think so.

The BC people are paying for, big businesses new company vehicles, larger bonuses, vacations to Hawaii, and renovating their places of business.

The HST is just another theft of the many thefts, engineered by Campbell and the BC Liberals.

Christy Clark is carrying on with, Cambell's thieving. The theft of the BCR and the HST. Our rivers thieved and sold.

Christy was to look into Campbell's scam, the run of the rivers, and our hydro bills going up to 53% higher. The eco damage to the rivers is horrendous. Nothing done so far, to save our rivers.

What is Christy doing about, the asinine gasoline prices? The cost of food going up 10% and probably going higher? What does Christy do about, the blatant price gouging in BC? How does the every day citizen, cope with all of those high prices and pay the HST too?

The BC people are not overpaid politicians. We don't get $6,000 per year, per person for food. We can't thieve a, $60,000 per year salary hike from the tax payers. We can't thieve an entire railroad, and the valuable real estate, that went with the railroad. We would go to prison, if we thieved and sold, anything belonging to this province, or other people.

Anonymous said...

: "Are you in favour of extinguishing the HST and reinstating the PST in conjunction with the GST — yes or no?"

This is the referendum question. G West has it correct when he said to vote down the HST, you must vote yes.

"G west go back to your cave. Those who hate hst will vote NO!!!! Learn to read bozo the clown. Old people can't even read."

Me thinks Peter Ennis is the bozo the clown here, or just another PAB rat on the Liberal payroll to confuse the voters.

cherylb said...

@ Peter Ennis - actually, G West is right. To get rid of the HST you have to vote YES.

The question is - are you in favour of extinguishing the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) and reinstating the PST (Provincial Sales Tax) in conjunction with the GST (Goods and Services Tax)

The answer to that question is YES.

Anonymous said...

I'm voting no. Can't trust those weasels vanderzalm and that delaney guy. Hope people realize they deserve less and that most social and hospital funding should be cut. If you don't want to pay taxes, then let those who can afford it get it and you get zip.

Lower Social Services said...

The guy from the anti-HST says if you don't like HST, vote No. He's a genius.

No wonder Tieleman, old Bill Vanderzalm and crew couldn't even recall one single liberal. When you can't win on a sure bet, you should move to Toronto and be leaf fans. You guys can't even get your facts right.

Anonymous said...

a whining blogger squealed:

'It is corporate welfare, and the corporations make tons of money at our expense."

Typical. COnsider that corporations can be of any size. The blogger uses products and services from corporations daily. By doing that he keeps jobs going for brothers and sisters. If he doesn't he might as well start a log cabin on the shores of Chilko Lake and stay there.

Even Bill uses products and services from a corporation. Many exist from where Bill writes this blog to where the readers see it.

Unknown said...

I was planning to vote to keep the HST based on what seemed like a sensible 1% drop. Now that I have heard Christy Clarks plan to bankrupt the province and bribe us with invisible money, I have changed my mind and will be voting to return to the previous PST / GST. I am not happy with what it will cost -- but I cannot stomach the thought of sending the debt into orbit either :(

Anonymous said...

There's 7 voters in our household and we are all against HST. 100% voting No.

cherylb said...

Isn't it funny how Ontario says that the HST will cost each household $1500 but in BC it's only $350. Kevin? Colin? Christy? Any comments on that?

And to get rid of the HST you must vote YES.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:14, you're right, the poor and impoverished in this province deserve less. Damn them. We should give everything to the wealthy elite who were born with the silver spoon in their mouths. The ones who shape our tax policy to their own benefit. We should strive to widen the income gap further yet. The rich don't have enough.

Anonymous said...

"We should give everything to the wealthy elite who were born with the silver spoon in their mouths."

Not all of the so-called "weathy elite" were born with silver spoons in their mouths. Some were (esp. old money Vancouver wealthy people), but many more earned the wealth by hard work. Joy McPhail married a self made millionaire for example.

Anonymous said...

The problem with all of you, including you Tieleman is even if HST is reverted back to the old PST system, what alternatives do you have? NONE. PST was a broken and will be replaced. If it's not HST, it'll be a VAT of some sort. And the kicker is both NDP and Liberals LOVE VAT. So you'll all the fool.

Born with a wooden spoon, will die with a golden spoon. All for hardwork.

Anonymous said...

The NDP is very poor in providing workable solutions. The NDP is good at perpetually whining.

Easy to critcize, but much harder to come up with workable positive solutions.

Anonymous said...

If the NDP is so lousy at solutions, why does Christy Clark keep stealing their solutions?

I resent paying a tax so my cable provider doesn't have to, while they ship Canadian jobs overseas.

Same with forestry companies.

And yes, Google. The money goes to the States.

DPL said...

writing about jobs being shipped over seas, reminds me that god old friendly Telus has its call center very far off shore. Dial them up and ehar a fellow who has limited English and uses a script.As the expression goes,"It's not personal, it's business. I like our businesses to hire in this country

Anonymous said...

The HST is wonderful for big business and the province, however, there is absolutely nothing about the HST, that is good for the citizens.

The HST was intended for big business, only. How does BC HST benefit the people forced to pay it? Our HST goes directly to Harper.

Do we not know our money we have to live on, has shrunk? I most certainly do. I resent being told, how good the HST is for me. Good for what? Proove it, that I have more money because of the HST. I have far less, because of the HST. I had e-mailed a certain BC minister, to ask how the HST has helped me, i guess they didn't know, i never got a reply.

All of the HST provinces are failing very badly. BC is at the very bottom of all the western provinces, because of the HST. We are dead last, and sinking more everyday.

It is BC's government and politicians corruption and greed, that has caused the HST. When there weren't enough people working to support the corruption. They forced the HST onto the very people who can't afford it.

The HST saves gobs of money for big business. Take that money from them. They can afford it, the people can't.

Anonymous said...

So many people who hate HST will still mark down No on their ballot. So funny. What will all the losers on the anti-HST complain next? Must be hard to live with eh. Always losing. First can't win an election against Gordo. Can't win any recalls. It goes on and on.

Keep up the bad work folks. Vote No to get rid of HST. hahaha The elderly and the youth will for sure make this mistake and it will be a landslide to keep HST.

Anonymous said...

I have more than a couple outstanding concerns about the HST - chief among them is the loss of our tax sovereignty. The taxes that go to the Feds are always used to benefit the provinces back East where their loyalty resides. Unless there is documented proof that the taxes gathered on BC's behalf will return to BC, I don't buy that anyone will be tracking it for us. Let's be sure that the citizens and workers in this province benefit directly from our taxes. Do this by keeping control of BC tax dollars through reinstating the PST. Read the question carefully and vote 'Yes' to extinguish the HST.

Anonymous said...

Word on the street is "extinguish" the HST means keep. So lots of people against HST will vote NO!!!!!! Love it. Again, your luck has been extinguished Vandercam, Delaney.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 1:06.

The BC HST does nothing for the BC citizens. The HST was a plot of Campbell, Hansen and Harper. Hansen finally had to admit, the HST papers were on his desk, in March before the BC May election. The three of them lied, deceived and cheated the BC people.

The HST money stolen from us, goes directly to Harper, who in turn gave it to big business. The HST was meant for large company's, only. Harper give the huge corporations, billions of our tax dollars.

Christy's HST solution is laughable and useless. This is typical of the BC Liberals. Anything they say,i automatically consider it a lie. I have never been wrong on that one.

The BC Liberals, are a low life party. They lie, deceive, they are totally corrupt and if they can't win they cheat. To see Christy and her photo shoot, right out side of the election hall, is one of the typical dirty tactics, the Liberals have always used, since Campbell.

The BC Liberal party should be known as, the BC Liberal Dirty Tactics Party. An excellent new party name for them. I will e-mail my suggestion to Hansen.

Anonymous said...

I like our businesses to hire in this country

Start one. If you can get one going that is competitive with General Motors, Google, even the U.S. company that handles this Blogger, go for it.

British Columbia hasn't had a heavy truck manufacturer resident since Pacific left business 15 years ago. There used to be three:

Hayes, Canadian Kenworth, and Pacific.

There used to be Canadian companies in the forest, leaders in the industry.

There also used to be a large shipyard prescence.

Or you can make digital shooting noises while working as a quality assurance anlayst testing shoot em ups at Electronic Arts.

Anonymous said...

The BC Liberal party should be known as, the BC Liberal Dirty Tactics Party. An excellent new party name for them. I will e-mail my suggestion to Hansen.

Watch how fast that gets deleted at his office. Would set a world record.

NeoDude said...

I keep thinking "People can't be so ignorant as to think a NO vote will get rid of the HST" but then I remind myself that we all watched our government act in such an insanely dictatorial fashion as to bring forth without discussion, implement and maintain for over 2 years a policy that was not only grossly unpopular but also in contradiction to the fictionalized platform that got them elected in the first place.

And how many people thought that the best way to prevent such a government from forming was to maintain a voting system that tends naturally to dictatorial rule? Hell, we oouldn't even stop Harper from a false majority with multiple party options to choose from.

If you voted NO to STV then you're morally inclined to vote NO for the upcoming HST referendum because you obviously enjoy being force fed bad policy.

Rejoice! Ignorance will rule again in BC politics.

Anonymous said...

"Hell, we oouldn't even stop Harper from a false majority with multiple party options to choose from."

and who exactly is "we"?? The majority of voters in a majority of ridings voted Tory so hence the outcome. A majority of Quebecois voted Parti Neo-Democratique, so hence the result in Quebec over the Liberals and BQ.

If you voted NO to STV then you're morally inclined to vote NO for the upcoming HST referendum because you obviously enjoy being force fed bad policy.

Not exactly. There is no "moral inclination" since the two are not related. I would have voted Yes to STV if the idiot proponents had adopted a schematic similar to Australia whereby the size and number of ridings did not change, nor did the number of representatives, only the mechanics of the vote (single transferrable ballot), but they stupidly adopted a fiefdom sized riding scheme with multiple members in each one. So hence the result that came out of it.

Rejoice! Ignorance will rule again in BC politics.

As it always does. The NDP in alot of ways is no different, just a mirror image in many ways of the other parties, but caters to labour and so-called "working British Columbians" (assuming that no one who is part of a union or works in an office does not actually work, so using that schematic, Bill here doesn't really work).

davinkarjala said...

Did the folks who laid out 350 bucks for a cheap seat at a Canucks playofff game pay HST? If not, why not?
That's $42 that would go to support our poor uncompetitive BC corporations at tax time.
Indeed, if every seat at Rogers Arena paid $90 in HST, that's almost $1.7 million in lost tax revenue.
Mind you some of that was "comped" so that friends and family could go, but it seems to me the stickmen were asleep at the switch in collecting this wonderful tax.
In the final analysis, our tax system may require a serious review in light of changing demographics, not political tweaking which just raises everybody's blood pressure.

Tom Richards said...

I honestly do not believe that going back to the old GST/PST system is the answer.
No one wants to pay more taxes, and yet no one wants less from our Governments, only they want more. This is ludicrous, especially when our Provincial Government is some
$ 30 Billion in debt and our Federal Government is some $ 600 Billion in debt as well.
Combined interest on these debts amounts to over $ 30 Billion each and every year.
What a colossal waste!

Anonymous said...

Bill, i don't really care if HST will cost me more. I don't measure tax (or any) policy by whether it's good for me, personally; that's way too narrow a measure.
Rather, i want to know whether it's good for our society. Because that's what will ultimately be good for me.

And i'm having a hard time finding any clue to that, amid all the partisan commentary.