Chamber survey shows business support for HST

The majority of Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce members who responded to a recent poll said they will be voting to keep the harmonized sales tax.

The majority of Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce members who responded to a recent poll said they will be voting to keep the harmonized sales tax.

The chamber saw 64 per cent of respondents in the membership survey indicate they want to keep the HST in place, about one-quarter of the membership replied to the survey.

“This is an important decision facing B.C. businesses,” said chamber president Jason Cox. “There is a lot at stake for the province.”

The chamber sees its membership support of the HST as consistent with the views of other business organizations in the province, many of whom have also voiced similar support.

The B.C. Chamber of Commerce, Shelfspace, the Association for Retail Entrepreneurs, The Vancouver Board of Trade and others have voiced support of the HST. BC Fruit Growers’ Association president Joe Sardinha recently stated he also supports the HST remaining in place. In letter to the Penticton Western News he said, “returning back to the old 12 per cent PST-GST system is bad for business, customers and families.”

Cox said compliance with one sales tax (HST) versus two (PST and GST) reduces bookkeeping costs for small firms which often don’t have the same administrative resources as larger companies. He said the HST removes the PST from the cost of production, making it cheaper to produce goods and services.

“These changes improve competitiveness and will ultimately encourage job creation, better wages and economic growth across the province,” said Cox.

Cox added that by reducing the HST rate to 10 per cent and providing rebates to families with children and low-income seniors, the government has considered both the business community and the general public in the process. He said the benefits of the harmonized tax will ultimately “create a win for both.”

“I hope our local businesses share the successes they’ve experienced through the harmonized tax with their staff and others to broaden the understanding of the benefits of HST retention and I hope our members not only vote, but that they vote no to extinguishing the HST,” said Cox.