A few more thoughts on justification for HST

I read with interest your recent letters and editorial regarding the HST and wanted to add some points that were not made.

I understand the collection of the tax is more efficient given HST revenue is administered and collected by the federal government. The province’s rationale for introducing the HST is it is far less costly, less complicated for business and makes us more competitive internationally. However, why were additional services taxed?

The explanation may be it’s good for us because it reduces the deficit. But why are we in a deficit situation? The current long-term government has had significant surpluses in the past.

I realize this government has dealt with awarding themselves significant increases in salary and benefits; they also held the costly Olympic games and funded billion-dollar projects for transportation and ski resorts.

Is this justification for such limited solutions as adding another major tax, making significant service cuts and privatizing everything?

I am aware the HST takes an extra $360 a year out of the average family’s pocket. What I’m not clear about is how, years from now, the speculated $830 future benefit will be refunded to families. There has been no indication that once the deficit is paid off that the tax will be eliminated.

Surely an explanation could be provided that if everything goes according to plan and we prosper from the competitive business edge this tax purportedly generates, then we go back to pre-HST tax levels. If we keep cutting business taxes, won’t a lot of this additional attracted business just end up as profit, thus delaying any repayment to us? I know of no studies showing that when business taxes are reduced that these savings are passed onto the public.

We mostly sell our commodities abroad, and economists tell us this already puts us in an enviable position worldwide. The cost of everything somehow seems to be going up, not down (as in the “trickle down” effect), and wasn’t the GST introduced to eliminate the federal deficit? Then how come we still have two GST’s and a lot more deficit?

Anthony Mears

Oak Bay