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Monday, February 20, 2012


February 17th, 2012

Liberal foot-dragging on HST/PST transition disrespectful to voters and businesses

VANCOUVER – While there are measures to help British Columbia’s ailing homebuilding industry, Friday’s HST transition announcement amounts to a small fix of the colossal Liberal HST failure and a confirmation that the province won’t be rid of the tax until more than a year and a half after the referendum result was announced, say the New Democrats.

“The key point in this Liberal government announcement is that it’s official – we won’t be rid of the HST until April 1, 2013, more than a year and a half after the HST was voted down in a province-wide referendum,” said New Democrat finance critic Bruce Ralston. “First and foremost, that is an insult to the hundreds of thousands of British Columbians who rejected the Liberals’ HST, and expected to see much greater progress on a transition back to the PST by now.

“Just eleven months for the Liberals to sneak the HST in, but 19 months for them to get rid of it. I think voters are feeling ripped off again.”

Ralston said the writing was on the wall well ahead of the referendum, the Liberals should have known there was a chance the tax would be voted down and started the process sooner.

“Since the HST was voted down by British Columbians, the Liberals have been full of excuses as to why doing what the electorate wishes - returning to the PST system - is going to take so long.”

Ralston said the other piece of Friday’s announcement was the creation of a set of transition period rules for the homebuilding industry and a threshold increase to the price of new homes where the HST applies. Ralston said the industry was devastated by the HST, and he expects they will welcome this overdue assistance.

“There are other industries, namely the restaurant and tourism industries, that didn’t get much relief today, on the other hand,” said Ralston. Since the HST was implemented, we’ve seen restaurants on the news, closing their doors for good. Several of the owners identify the HST as a key reason.

“There are still restaurants around the province that are struggling to keep their doors open, and I imagine they look at today’s announcement by the Liberals as more bad news.”

Ralston said the Liberals made a colossal mess when they broke their election promise not to bring in the HST, and Friday’s announcement is far from being the cleanup necessary.

Adrian Dix and the New Democrats believe the hundreds of thousands of British Columbians that spoke out loud and clear about the HST expect a government that will work overtime to respect the HST referendum results.

Filed in:Headlines Bruce Ralston

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