24 July 2009

My pockets aren't that deep.

Earlier this week, our esteemed leaders sprung a new tax on us. Oh, sure, they said it will rejuvenate the economy but really it's just a poke in the eye for most British Columbians and virtually all tourists. What they are doing is "harmonizing" the provincial sales tax (PST, 7%) with the federal goods and services tax (GST, 5%). This harmonized sales tax (HST) will take effect next July 1st, post the glorious Olympic Games of course. While it makes some sense for those who have to collect the tax, it is problematic to blend two different systems. Here's just a few things that will be more expensive under the new tax (currently exempt from PST, they will be subject to the full 12% HST):


• Residential fuels (electricity, natural gas) and heating.
• Basic cable TV and residential phones.
• All food products (only basic groceries will remain exempt under new tax).
• Non-prescription medication.
• Vitamins and dietary supplements.
• Bicycles.
• School supplies (books will continue to be exempt).
• Magazines and newspapers.
• Work-related safety equipment.
• Safety helmets, life jackets, first-aid kits.
• Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
• Energy conservation equipment (e.g., insulation, solar power equipment).


• Personal services such as hair care.
• Dry cleaning.
• Repair services for household appliances.
• Household maintenance such as renovations and painting.
• Real estate fees.
• Membership fees for health clubs.
• Movie and theatre tickets.
• Funeral services.
• Professional services such as accounting and home care.
• Airline fares within Canada.

All household energy prices have increased significantly in the past five years anyway; an added 7% on that item alone will be a huge burden for the average family but that is only one item on the list. Add up just the ones you can't avoid and it's going to get ugly uglier around here.

Thanks a lot Gordo.


davidd said...

Apparently your government learned that our wealthy California-American friend Pastilla is headed north in the next few months, and wants to get their cut of those golden California dollars!

Boy, will they be in for a surprise when they realize that California pays it's employees with IOUs instead of greenbacks!


Greg said...

Here in New Zealand, we had to get used to 12.5% GST on everything, no exceptions. On the other hand, the marked item prices are required to include GST, so you know exactly how much you're going to pay without having to add the tax yourself.

There is talk, on and off, of eliminating GST on food (or basic food items), but there doesn't seem to be a big push to make it happen.