Simpson weighs in on HST

HST, Bob Simpson

The HST has been defeated, but you won’t hear anti-HST regional organizer for the Cariboo North, Martin Eastman gloating.

“We, the electorate, should never have been put into this situation, the province is just coming out of a recession and to put a new heavy tax on is counter productive to recovery,” he said.

“It was all about the $1.6 billion to make up for the budget shortfall $485 million deficit, not one penny more.”

The HST was rejected by 54.73 per cent of eligible voters, Elections BC reported Friday.

Premier Christy Clark vowed that the former provincial sales tax will be reinstated with the same exemptions that existed before July 2010.

That means restaurant meals, haircuts and a variety of services will only be subject to the five-per-cent federal goods and services tax, but the transition is expected to take a year and a half.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon estimated scrapping the HST will cost the province about $3 billion in the next few years.

Adding the B.C. government will have to borrow to pay back the $1.6 billion transition fund from the federal government, with a payment schedule that will have to be negotiated with Ottawa.

However, Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson says that “nonsense” needs to “stop.”

“There’s so many external factors that effect the economy,” he said.

The Independent MLA said now that the decision has been made, government has an obligation to act, “stop the debate and the fear mongering.”

Simpson says he hopes Premier Clark will consult with the people of British Columbia regarding taxation and public service expectations.

“Say to them ‘how do we manage revenue flow and your expectations for health care and education,’” he said.

“Because we cannot have the lowest tax regime and receive a hip replacement surgery within three weeks.

“It can’t happen.”

The Cariboo North count had 7,131 “Yes” votes (to scrap the HST); 4,818 “No” votes (keep the HST) for a 12,095 total.