B.C. Liberals offer to cut HST rate

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

District of Vanderhoof contracts YMCA for aquatic centre

Announcement brings mixed reaction from community

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

Community and collaboration drive Binche Fishing Derby

Family time, forward thinking and positive initiatives to be highlighted

Nechako Valley Exhibition holding regional talent competition

Solo vocalists and instrumentalists wanted

Audit finds Canfor did not comply with bridge maintenance legislation

Per a news release issued by the Forest Practices board, an independent… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C.’s ‘unicycle cowboy’ aspires to be rancher one day

Burklan Johnson has only ridden a horse once, but this unicyclist has big plans to become a cowboy.

Second Narrows Bridge collapse survivor remembers tragic day

Kelowna’s Norm Atkinson remembers what it was like to survive B.C. ‘s worst industrial accident

Lions need to focus on football after disruptive fan incident: coach

Wally Buono says his players need to focus on football after defensive back Marcell Young hit a fan

Liberals set hiring, procurement rules for federally-funded projects

Indigenous Peoples, recent immigrants, veterans, young people, people with disabilities and women to be hired

Get your hot dog water, only $40 in Vancouver

‘Hot Dog Water’ seller in Vancouver gets laughs, sales with savvy marketing

Privacy questions linger in Canada-U.S. terror list deal struck

Two years after Canadian and U.S. security agencies signed an updated agreement officials consider privacy risk

Manitoba MP was allegedly abusive at Red Cross shelter

Canadian Red Cross has filed a complaint that Liberal backbencher MaryAnn Mihychuk ignored protocol

Fiery crash closes Highway 5 near Barriere

The stretch of highway won’t be open until at least 10 a.m., DriveBC says

Rescued Oregon family simply unprepared for adventure, RCMP say

Agencies now helping the group of four get to their destination in Alaska

Most Read