Responding to a challenge from NDP candidate Charlie Wyse to explain why the BC Liberals are “dragging their feet” on removing the HST, Cariboo-Chilcotin Liberal MLA Donna Barnett said “it’s not that simple.”
Speaking from her office in 100 Mile House Friday, Barnett defended the government’s promise to reinstate the PST and GST as quickly as possible, saying the government is moving as fast as it can.
“If you’re not an accountant you wouldn’t understand. No province has ever instituted the HST and then taken it back again. We said it would take 18 to 24 months. It means rewriting tax laws, rehiring 300 tax collectors,” Barnett said, adding that 30,000 new businesses have started up since the implementation of the HST that have never administered the two taxes separately.
Wyse told the Tribune he conservatively estimates that adults in his riding are paying an additional $350 a year because of the HST.
“The government needs to cancel the HST sooner, rather than later,” Wyse said.
When campaigning for the last election, Wyse says he heard huge opposition from small businesses and the resource community.
“Fifty-nine per cent of the people in this region voted to get rid of it and I’m calling on her (Barnett) to recognize the wish of her constituents to abolish it. Why will it take 18 to 19 months to get rid of it when it took less than a year to put it in place?” Wyse challenged, adding it’s been the largest taxation shift in the province’s history.
Barnett said she’s heard the opposite from people who voted in favour of getting rid of the HST. She says they have told her they voted in anger, but now think the HST was a good thing.
“I can’t wait to see the rhetoric out there in two years after it’s gone. They’ll notice the difference in the cost of doing business then,” Barnett said.