Academic economists, those not doing Faustian deals with the likes of the Fraser Institute or Colin Hansen, determine that consumer taxes such as HST can be a worthwhile element of fair taxation. However, each states that fairness requires a balance of different taxes, that one should not be dramatically changed without considering the overall impact of the entire tax system. That has been one of my problems with implementation of HST in British Columbia.
Today NDP leadership candidate John Horgan issued the best policy announcement we have seen from either government or opposition. The highlights:
John Horgan announced that under his leadership, government would establish a Fair Tax Commission responsible for examining and reporting on the total impact of the HST, provincial taxation, user fees, licences, natural resource royalties and the range of other government imposed costs on citizens and businesses.
For the past decade, the BC Liberals have made income tax and business tax cuts that benefit the wealthy few, while boosting the burden on ordinary British Columbians with the HST, MSP premium increases, hydro rate hikes and a whole host of licensing and user fees,” said Horgan. “This reliance on taxation-by-stealth is both bad public policy and breeds contempt for our public institutions.”
The Fair Tax Commission would produce a comprehensive report on how government raises the revenues it needs to pay for vital public services and ensure that citizens, small businesses and corporations have a full understanding of what they contribute to the province’s coffers.
“The negative impact of the HST and the uncertainty over the future of the tax undermine consumer confidence, small businesses and the investment climate,” said Horgan. “Should the tax be repealed this year, government will need to develop a smarter plan for how it is going to raise revenues without simply shifting costs onto ordinary citizens.”
Horgan’s statement stands on its own so I will not add comments except to repeat that this is the best policy proposal on the table by any BC politician.