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Message from the Chair: The HST issue is critical to B.C. business

July 07, 2011

Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia
The upcoming HST referendum is one of the most important business decisions facing us in British Columbia today.

Your ballots are due back in just a few weeks — by August 5 — and as chair of western Canada’s leading business association, I feel strongly that it is important to speak out on this issue.   The Vancouver Board of Trade officially supports retaining the HST, and our research to reach that conclusion has been extensive.

If we return to the archaic dual PST/GST system, there is no question that businesses will lose out.

Put simply, the HST is an efficient, consumption tax. It is a transparent tax without loopholes, exemptions for special interest groups or deductions. It removes compounded PST charged repeatedly at every stage of production, from raw materials right through to when the finished item appears in the store. In the past, companies selling that final product could never claim back the hidden, compounded PST included in their costs. In turn, compounded PST also led to higher tax rates on investment, and we know that removing investment penalties, such as PST, will inevitably encourage job creation, better wages and economic growth.

It is not just The Board of Trade that takes this view. The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses report 83%  of small businesses support the simpler, time-saving 10% HST — a full two points lower that the punitive 12% PST/GST. What is important now is for you, as employers, to share the knowledge of these economic advantages with your employees and anyone you know who still has to mail in their ballot.

There is no point in turning the clock back. We need to ensure British Columbia can compete both nationally with other Canadian jurisdictions, and globally with the other 140 countries using value-added taxes like the HST.

Please spread the word and mail in your referendum ballot if you haven’t already done so. It is critical we stand united on this issue and vote a resounding "No" to PST/GST. The cost is just too great.

Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia
The Vancouver Board of Trade

For more information visit: www.hstinbc.ca or www.hstjobs.ca

Everyone should have received their ballots by July 8. If you have not received a ballot package, you have until July 22 to request one from Elections BC.

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