CGAs Speaking Up for the HST at Public Forums
CGA-BC is an active member of the Smart Tax Alliance that favours keeping the Harmonized Sales Tax. As such, your Association encourages you and your colleagues to attend the coming pre-referendum forums in your community.
CGAs are also taking part as local forum panellists—experts on the local economy and the benefits of the HST, who are able to answer questions from the audience, and, where appropriate, add to the dialogue. A special thanks to the CGAs who have answered our call to further the dialogue and, we hope, clear up some of the misunderstandings surrounding the HST.
CGA-BC’s Position on the HST
The Association has been a leader in recommending the adoption of the HST since 2006 when it was asked to suggest possible reforms to the PST. At that time, the Association emailed members who had indicated expertise in PST, asking for their input. Many responded with specific suggestions. Those responses made clear that our members strongly disliked the old PST: examples of just how complex and confusing the PST was abounded. Some members recommended merging the PST with the GST. Based on extensive research by some of the country’s leading economists, CGA-Canada, other CGA affiliates and our counterparts in the accounting profession, the Association concluded that harmonizing the tax made public and fiscal policy sense, and recommended this course of action to the Government in January 2006.
As one CGA from the Kootenays wrote at the time:
The true problem is that the PST is not an end-user tax. Businesses and individuals alike are paying the PST on their equipment and fixtures. The result is that our costs to operate a business are seven per cent higher than they are in Alberta, even before we open the doors to the customer.
The cost savings of using a harmonized sales tax … could be significant with the reduced bureaucracy. The overall rate could potentially be lowered to 12 or 13 per cent initially … to pass the benefit of reduced bureaucracy to taxpayers.
We also published the results of the entire review in the June 2006 issue of Outlook magazine.
The Next Six Weeks
Both yes and no proponents are able to have up to three panellists participate in these events. Each forum will include an introduction from both sides, followed by rebuttals, a Q&A session, and closing statements. Independent representatives of the post-secondary institutions will moderate the forums in a non-partisan way.
The Association will also be posting resources on the CGA-BC website and in CGA Update to help people explain the advantages of the tax compared to the old PST.
The referendum is based on a mail-in ballot that starts on Friday, June 24. All ballots must be received by mail by Elections BC on Friday, July 22, 2011.
The Smart Tax Alliance is a non-partisan alliance of 39 B.C. business and industry groups formed to support the job-creating benefits of the HST. The STA represents a wide cross-section of industries with over one million employees across British Columbia.
HST Public Forums
Date and Time
|May 24 (7:30 pm to 9 pm)
||Northern Lights College
|May 26 (7:30 pm to 9 pm)
|May 27 (7:30 pm to 9 pm)
||Thompson Rivers University
|May 30 (7:30 pm to 9 pm)
|May 31 (7:30 pm to 9 pm)
||College of the Rockies
|June 2 (7:30 pm to 9 pm)
||Kwantlen Polytechnic University
|June 3 (7:30 pm to 9 pm)
||University of the Fraser Valley
|June 4 (10:30 am to noon)
||UBC - Telus Studio Theatre
|June 7 (7:30 pm to 9 pm)
||SFU - Centre for Dialogue
|June 8 (7:30 pm to 9 pm)
||Camosun College (Lansdowne)
|June 9 (7:30 pm to 9 pm)
||Vancouver Island University