31 July 2009


There's considerable outrage in British Columbia over the announcement that the province is instituting a harmonized sales tax effective July 1, 2010. While there has long been a 7% PST on most items, that's now going to be applied across the spectrum. Naturally, people aren't happy. The letters to the editor section at Castanet is rife with anger. The thing that gets me about it is the personalization of the anger that is directed at Premier Campbell, as though the new tax is going directly into his wallet. "Organized crime," liar, thieves, yada yada yada.
I'm just young enough to not remember much of the outrage that occurred when the GST was implemented, replacing the manufacturers tax before it that was "hidden" in pricing. I remember the stand made by Sheila Copps after the Liberals were elected and subsequently didn't abolish it as promised, but little else. I'd imagine people were pretty angry, though.
Nobody likes taxes, this much is true. Me, I really don't like income taxes--more specifically, I really don't like having to deal with Revenue Canada when they screw up my return on an annual basis. Consumption taxes don't really bother me that much - it's all going to a good cause, right? I kid, I kid. Seriously though, when budget deficits are going to be the norm across the land for some years to come due to the brutalization that has occurred at the hands of Messrs. Harper and Flaherty, governments need revenue to continue to develop and deliver programs while keeping the books as close to balanced as possible. In a sense, I wonder if Campbell is taking a preemptive measure here as a guard against possible cuts to federal-provincial transfers that may well be in the offing. That's not the sum total of the reasoning behind the implementation, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's part of it.

All of this said, I'm still hoping to avoid paying the HST on the wedding.


brad (in bc) said...

Hansen's Shellgame Tax is unpopular, yes. What has most of the province in an uproar, however, is that we are expected to beleive they had no plans to do this, and within a few weeks of being elected had a negotiated MoA with the Feds for this. That, and the total lack of concern about parliamentary process. No legislative debate, no consultation, no nothing. Just, as my dear old dad used to say "you'll like it whether you like it or not"

RGM said...

Reminds one an awful lot of how Messrs. Harper et Flaherty were talking all through the election campaign eh? No deficit on our watch, they says, everything will be just fine, they says. D'oh!

The process, or lack thereof, is definitely one aspect that I can see creating a lot of anger for people. This sort of thing should have to go before the legislature; Campbell may have a decent majority and it would pass anyways, but it would be nice to watch them all have to squirm as they defend their position and argue that British Columbians really need to be taxed more.