B.C. Liberals offer to cut HST rate

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon explains the impact of scrapping the HST to reporters in Victoria Wednesday.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon explains the impact of scrapping the HST to reporters in Victoria Wednesday.

VICTORIA – The B.C. government is promising to cut the harmonized sales tax rate by two percentage points over the next three years, and issue $175 rebate cheques for each child and lower-income senior this year.

The program is aimed at persuading voters to keep the HST in a mail-in referendum that begins in June. If the HST survives, the first one per cent rate cut would take effect July 1, 2012 and businesses would start paying more tax.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon said the changes mean the average B.C. family will see an overall tax reduction of $120 a year when the HST rate reaches 10 per cent.

The HST currently costs the statistically average household an additional $350 a year, although there are wide variations for actual families. Falcon acknowledged that some families would continue to pay more until 2014.

If a majority of voters opt to keep the HST, current low-income rebates would continue to be paid, and $175 transition cheques would go to parents for each child under 18, and to some seniors as well.

Single seniors earning up to $40,000 a year would get the entire $175, and a partial payment would got those with incomes up to $43,500. Senior couples would receive $175 for combined income up to $40,000 and a partial payment up to a $50,000 combined income.

Falcon said with the rebate cheques taken into account, the majority of families are better off with an 11 per cent HST rate. Once the rate falls to 10 per cent, all income brackets are better off than they were under the old provincial sales tax at seven per cent, he said.

To keep the government’s deficit reduction plan on track, Falcon is proposing to raise the general corporate income tax rate two points to 12 per cent, and delay a small business tax cut scheduled for next year. The small business income tax is currently at 2.5 per cent, scheduled to drop to zero in 2012.

The proposed corporate tax increase mirrors one of the promises made by NDP leader Adrian Dix in his leadership campaign. Dix said Wednesday the public will still reject the HST because the B.C. Liberals can’t be trusted to tell the truth.

Premier Christy Clark said the increase to corporate taxes and retaining small business income tax would be temporary moves, and the government will return to its business tax reduction program when the budget is balanced.

With the HST rate reduction, tobacco taxes would be raised to offset the reductions to HST. Liquor taxes would also be unaffected.

Just Posted

A pub patio in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Patio and picnic dining could mean a free meal for Greater Victoria patrons

Local celebrities pick up the tab with latest Greater Victoria chamber contest

Greater Victoria School District (SD61) Saturday announced a COVID-19 exposure at Oak Bay High School. (Black Press Media File).
Oak Bay High School subject of COVID-19 exposure

Greater Victoria School District (SD61) said possible exposure happened June 9-10

St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria bishop apologizes for church’s role in residential schools

Bishop Gary Gordon voices commitment to healing and reconciliation

Oak Bay Rotary Club member Lorna Curtis takes over as District Governor of Rotary District 5020 on July 1. (Courtesy Lorna Curtis)
Former Oak Bay recreation director goes international with Rotary

Lorna Curtis takes over as district governor on July 1

Police are asking opponents of logging near Port Renfrew not to involve their children following additional arrests Saturday. (Black Press Media File)
Police arrest eight protesters including two minors near Port Renfrew Saturday

RCMP ask parents not to involve their children in Fairy Creek logging protests

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read