HST debate is really about democracy

To the editor of The Revelstoke Current:

I posted the following response to a column (In BC’s HST debate, passion trumps common sense, by Derek DeCloet, published June 19)  in The Globe & Mail:


I am one of those ignorant, financially clueless, knee jerk populist and generally stupid critics of the BC HST that doesn’t know what he is talking about. Please bear with me.

The fact remains, the Gordon Campbell HST is a shoddy piece of work.

He has presented BC with an HST that gives away provincial control of taxation to the Ottawa; he will remove two billion dollars from the consumer economy in the middle of the worst recession in living memory and he will use all the money to finance corporate tax cuts while running the highest deficits BC has ever seen.

And you wonder why people are critical?

A few questions for those studied in the black magic called economics:

1) Why not administer the HST in BC? Quebec maintained control. Provincial control will give options in collecting and spending the tax.

2) Why not phase in the HST as we can afford it? I fear that two billion dollars removed from the consumer disposable income will damage our fragile consumer economy and cost jobs. How many jobs? I don’t know. You tell me. I can’t find any studies on it. Two billion is a lot of activity and its loss is going to hurt someone.

To phase in, start with a rate that would generate the same revenue as the PST. Phase in increases as priorities require. Business gains 150 million in administrative savings and no damage is done to the existing economy.

3) Why not start with zero input tax credits for the provincial share? Input credits are a very powerful tool. Selective credits can control revenue as BC is doing now for the phase in. Selective credits can stimulate activity where and when you need it such as helping struggling business sectors, targeting initiatives such as the environment and stimulating investment. An HST is probably the best tax tool to help balance the budget.

5) Lastly, why not let the people decide? It’s their money.

This country was built because people voted to pay taxes for the common good. People want a say.

And it is all about democracy.

Bill Ayres