Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard something about the HST referendum in BC. You’ve also likely received your referendum ballot in the mail. So what now? Do you check off YES or NO? Here are five things that students should know before casting their ballots:
1. Voting NO means keeping the HST and a lower tax rate for everyone. The government’s commitment to a 10% HST is now the law. Voting yes on your ballet means reinstating a 12% PST-GST.
2. About 1.1 million people in BC—including many university students—are receiving quarterly BC HST rebate cheques. Going back to a PST-GST will eliminate these cheques. Lower income earners are actually better off under the HST, while higher income earners pay more.
3. There are no guarantees that if we go back to a 12% PST-GST that prior exemptions will also be reinstated. Even if the HST is extinguished, your restaurant bill might still be taxed at 12%—after all, we’ll owe the federal government $1.6 billion—we’ll need to pay it off somehow.
4. Under the HST, only 17% of goods and services saw a tax increase, which means 83% of goods and services were already taxed at 12% and saw NO increase in tax. Things such as your groceries, gas and home heating fuels are, and will continue to be, exempt from HST.
5. You’re a student now, but soon you’ll be looking for a job. Voting NO and keeping the HST will keep BC’s economy strong. A strong economy funds the public services we all need—like schools, hospitals, and roads. And a strong economy means a flourishing job market for people like you.
Remember: Voting NO means a 10% HST. Voting YES means returning to a 12% PST-GST. Decide for yourself.
For more information, visit: http://www.ica.bc.ca/kb.php3?catid=1104