Columbia River – Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald spoke out in the Legislature against the continued delay in allowing citizens to have their say on the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).
Initially it was promised that the referendum on the HST would be held on June 24 but now a final decision has been postponed until August.
“Businesses affected by the HST need certainty, and Premier Clark’s delay on getting this question answered is hurting local businesses,” Macdonald said.
He quoted the concerns of a Kimberley realtor who indicated that resort communities in eastern British Columbia have been particularly impacted because condominium sales in British Columbia must now include 12% HST. Resort communities are competing with real estate markets in Alberta and the United States where tax rates are much lower.
Potential recreational real estate buyers are taking a pass on buying in British Columbia because of the uncertainty about the tax. Real estate developers and realtors are left with product that they can’t sell unless they are willing to pay the HST for the buyer, a $36,000 cost on a $300,000 unit.
“British Columbians been told that the HST will result in more jobs and more economic activity but this situation totally refutes that claim,” Macdonald said.
“First, the BC Liberals implemented this tax in a thoughtless and duplicitous way, and now they are dithering and delaying on how the decision on the tax will be made. It continues to show just how little the BC Liberals care about how their policies affect us here in Columbia River – Revelstoke.”