A quick primer on the HST as it is spoke in British Columbia, Canada

Here in British Columbia we are getting launched into another rabid debate over the dreaded HST (Harmonized Sales Tax). It was introduced after the provincial election wherein the incumbent government (Liberal) swore vehemently there were no new taxes waiting in the wings should they be returned to office. It is not possible to have a program of this scale up and running within a few months so it must have been in the legislative hopper for several months prior to the calling of the election but the finance minister of the day and the premier would put their fingers in their ears and let it be known no cabinet documents bearing any information regarding said action should cross their desks. This gave them what is known in the biz as "plausable deniability". Anyway, the widely acknowledged problem with the HST is not that it is actually an improvement over the old split GST/PST system but how it was implemented. There was little information available to consumers or businesses that had to actually do the implementation. It was, in short, a mess. Now the current Premier, Christie Clark, is saying she was not in charge when it was put in place and therefore should not be held responsible. "Her" new government (I always thought every government was supposed to be "ours", i.e. the people who elected them but that is a minor quibble) is blameless as far as she is concernend and now is doing what it can do repair the damage of that other government. Remember here that we are talking the exact same government that was elected 'lo those months ago but with a new, recently elected leader viz Ms. Clark. This new government is offering to reduce the hated HST by 2% over the next 3 years if it survives the upcoming referendum. There is also a cash pay out to families with children under the age of 18 and to "impoverished seniors". This pay out is a one-off deal and amounts to something less than the projected $375 the new tax has actually cost each taxpayer in the first year of implementation. Sorry about all these numbers but it is a complicated issue. The bottom line is why are they doing this? There is math involved, yes, but even I can do it, heck, even a 10 year old can look at the figures and see someone is trying to buy us off with a handfull of magic beans. If the government thinks the tax is a good idea - as they kept saying during it's implementation and right up until the new leader was elected - then keep it. If they don't, then get rid of it entirely and return to the old system. But this new idea will be a nightmare for business to implement and of absolutely no benefit to the electorate--including those few folk who will qualify for the bribe...er, rebate.

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