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

Waterworks plan in final steps, says Hope District

Council approves borrowing of $1.8 million, upping water bills almost $50 a year

Film club holds birthday bash for 75-year-old Hope Cinema

Hollywood starlet Judy Garland will grace the big screen in Hope on Dec. 19

Petition for free menstrual products turned over to UFV president

Almost 1,300 signatures collected calling for all campus bathrooms to be stocked

Planning price tag revealed for futuristic ‘We Town’ concept in Abbotsford

Developer says highrises would house 30,000, but Abbotsford mayor says project is in wrong place

High death rate at Abbotsford Regional Hospital

Abbotsford has the worst-performing large hospital in B.C. on key safety measure

VIDEO: More air-passenger rights go into effect this weekend

The first set of passenger rights arrived in mid-July in Canada

Swoop airlines adds three destinations in 2020 – Victoria, Kamloops, San Diego

Low-fair subsidiary of WestJet Airlines brings new destinations in April 2020

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Transportation Safety Board finishes work at B.C. plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Trudeau sets 2025 deadline to remove B.C. fish farms

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Man accused of child sex crimes out on bail: Delta police

Gurchetan Singh Samra, 69, must stay away from — and not communicate with — anyone under 16 years old

Wagon wheels can now be any size! B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Indigenous mother wins $20,000 racial discrimination case against Vancouver police

Vancouver Police Board ordered to pay $20,000 and create Indigenous-sensitivity training

Most Read