Suggestions to make the HST fairer

Editor: I am often assured and told how good the Harmonized Sales Tax is for all of us, our children and their children.What a load of nonsense.It’s certainly wonderful for business, but how can more and more tax be good for the majority of people in B.C.? Unfortunately,  it’s unlikely we will be able to get rid of the HST, so I have some suggestions for our elected officials.First, increase the HST credit for low-income families. The maximum credit is $230 per year per person. The family annual credit is $115. These government numbers are based on an income of $25,750. For every $1,000 of additional income, reduce the credit by $40.Most people will spend way more that the amount of the credit on the HST each year.Second, do not apply HST to any more than the 61 products and services which were published on the government list (go to http:/hst.blog.gov.bc.ca, scroll down to helpful links to what’s taxable and what’s not).The government should not cheat and add PST to products and services, as it did on the private sale of motor vehicles which now have no HST, but 12 per cent PST.The government must also advise us, prior to the referendum, as to which  companies or services have reduced their prices on products or services to us, their customers, since HST was implemented. We also need to know how many new jobs have been created because of the tax savings businesses now enjoy. And how many people have had their wages and salaries increased, because businesses are enjoying this windfall?The seven per cent portion of the HST should not be added to gasoline. Gasoline is now excessively taxed, i.e. GVRD and provincial gas taxes 23.5 cents, federal excise tax 10 cents, and carbon tax 4.45 cents. The total before GST is 37.95 cents, with five per cent GST added to that. The GST is a tax on a tax. It’s amazing how most of us blame the oil companies for the price of gasoline.The seven per cent HST should also not be added to home energy costs.Reduce the deficit by responsible fiscal management and not by increased taxation.I would like to see a guarantee that cabinet ministers’ salaries be reduced by 15 per cent annually for every $1 billion added to the deficit each year.By implementing these suggestions, the provincial government may well become the sort of government the majority of people will think well of, and perhaps vote for.Roger Layton,Langley

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