Friday May 27, 2011


HST News


"Fix" Just Bag Of Tricks Says Dix

BCCPD's Dyson says rebate cheques should be going to all low-income people

Staff/Voice/CTV graphic



n Tuesday, the BC government announced a "fix" to the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) which lowers the rate from 12% over the next 2-years, to 10%, and $175 rebate cheques will go out to low-income families and seniors providing people vote to retain the tax.

For every one per cent chopped from the HST, it costs the government $850-million in lost revenue annually. It's been reported that the transitional payments alone will cost $200-million. But it's still cheaper than having to pay the $1.3-billion transfer payment back to the federal government plus it will take at least two-years to go back to the old PST system.

But to compensate for the costs associated with rebates and lost revenues, the liberals are promising to raise big business tax to 12 per cent from the current 10 per cent that corporations are currently enjoying.

The Liberals also plan to postpone the elimination of the 2.5 per cent small business tax rate and this has opposition leader Adrian Dix fuming.

Dix said in a release this week that the BC liberals have lied from day calling it a "smoke screen" put up by Christy Clark.

"B.C. families do the math on their household budget every day and they get it. Under the HST, a much larger number of items are taxed, like haircuts, a daily coffee and fees for their children's sports activities, not to mention big ticket items such as buying a new home, repairing a leaky roof and home renovations. Lowering the rate is simply a smokescreen designed to disguise the fact they will still pay significantly more and continue to see their household budget stretched to pay for tax reductions for big corporations," said Dix.

According to Dix, the Liberals initially claimed the HST would generate more than 100,000 jobs, the HST would lower prices and that the HST would be allocated toward public health care of of which have "proved a complete fiction."

Left off the rebate cheque list were Persons with Disabilities (PWD) and other low-income citizens.

Jane Dyson, with the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities, told the Voice in an e-mail Thursday the group is "very disappointed" that Person's with Disabilities (PWD) were excluded from the rebates.

Dyson said that PWD's receive an abysmal $906 a month to live on while people with lesser disability, those classified as having Persistent and Multiple Barriers to Employment Benefit are having an even harder time receiving just $658 a month.

"Since the HST was introduced so many items have increased in price and it has become even harder to live on these very low incomes despite the introduction of the HST rebate. We believe strongly that people with disabilities living on low incomes and indeed everyone who depends on government assistance such as Canada Pension Plan Disability and basic social assistance should receive the $175 transitional payment," she said.

Dyson said they haven't had a chance to advocate specifically for transitional payments but doesn't rule it out as something they would want to pursue with the government.

"People on low incomes receive an HST rebate cheque of approximately $160 every quarter; this was increased from $75 when the HST replaced the GST."

Dyson added that the rebate cheques should go to everyone who's low-income not just families and seniors.

"This rebate is based on income; so in that sense the transitional payment should be going to everyone on low income, including people on basic assistance; CPP-Disability etc."

There is a movement afoot to get Welfare rates increased and advocates are building a head of steam. One way they're doing this is by challenging any MLA to step up and live on $610, which is what people on Welfare currently receive.

The mail-in referendum is set for June 24 and the results will be released in August.


Copyright (c) 2011 The Valley Voice