Finance Minister wants you to vote in favour of the HST

By Kevin Falcon,
Minister of Finance
and Deputy Premier

With HST ballots starting to arrive in British Columbians’ mailboxes this week, it is important to get informed about the HST and understand the HST Referendum question so you can make an educated choice.

The HST is a complicated issue, and many people are undecided. When considering your vote, keep in mind that government has made changes to improve the HST in response to the largest listening exercise ever undertaken by a government in B.C.

If you are in favour of lower taxes and a 10 per cent HST, you should vote “NO” on your ballot. A lower 10 per cent tax would be better for families and means a lower burden for all families. At 10 per cent, every family at every income level would be better off than under a 12-per-cent PST plus GST. Voting “YES” is a vote for an administratively inefficient 12 per cent PST-plus-GST system.

This commitment by government to reduce the HST to 10 per cent by 2014 from 12 per cent has also been enshrined in law and confirmed by the Government of Canada.

The Province would also provide a $175 per child HST transition payment for families and $175 for seniors earning up to $40,000 to help the transition until the rate drops. These changes are responsive and fair, and allow us to keep our commitment to balancing our budget so key government services are funded. Proposed changes to the HST, including transition payments, would only take effect should British Columbians vote “NO” to the referendum question and retain the HST.

You should be receiving your ballot over the coming weeks. All ballots must be received by Elections BC or any Service BC office no later than Friday, July 22, 2011.

You must be registered as a British Columbia voter to receive a voting package. If you do not receive a voting package by Friday, June 24, 2011, call Elections BC at 1 800 661-8683 (toll-free) to register and request one. The deadline to request an HST Referendum Voting Package is midnight (local time) Friday, July 8, 2011.

I will be voting “NO” for lower taxes and a 10 per cent HST, but the decision is yours. I encourage all British Columbians to do their homework and visit, read the comprehensive voters guide, and ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. It’s your choice.