Uncertainty around HST vote is what hurt

Editor, The News:

Re: HST defeat inspiration, proof (Letters, Sept. 2).

Once again more opinions get posted with false information that ends up misleading readers because they believe that if it’s printed, it must be fact.

Sean Orcutt has every right to congratulate the “yes” vote and he is correct that the vote will resonate amongst government in future decision making.

While he’s patting everyone on the back, though, he starts making comments that are misleading and false. The HST has not been suppressing the B.C. economy. The uncertainty around the outcome of the vote has been the factor that’s hindering or will be forcing a number of key economic decisions, either fast tracking investment or putting B.C. companies at risk of losing large global business proposals and contracts because they cannot compete with businesses who can offer better deals due to reduced costs, like the film industry, ship building, and a number of others.

His comment that “business in B.C. had to switch to the HST, and they only had a few months”, again is flat out wrong. It was over a year.

While I agree 18 months is too long, keep in mind, the government has to hire hundreds of PST officers (and, no,  they are not all sitting at home waiting for a phone call), find them a place to operate, create a centralized office with management and systems, purchase computers systems and desks, re-train staff or fully train them, get printed information to the businesses and re-educate them on the processes, set up the online component and hire people to manage those systems. Meanwhile, the businesses have to change all their accounting (once a date is known) and most will have to add dozens of man hours to their business process.

Mr. Orcutt, if you can do that in 6 weeks, you should run for premier.

Lastly, you may see the campaign for the “no” side as a waste or “propaganda,” but over the past six months, the more people understood the tax, the real implications, and the more they listened to the economists (people smarter than you and me), the shift went from 85 per cent or more against the tax to 55 per cent. To me, those stats mean that the people who took the time saw the truth.

I will agree with you again, Mr. Orcutt, the world hasn’t ended, but your knowledge of the results, like job creation, is happening under your nose and you can’t see it. In Maple Ridge alone there are a number of businesses that really benefited from the tax incentives the HST brought and one new business in particular will soon employ 12 locals. And reduced costs? How about hundreds of thousands in savings in building the Port Mann Bridge? Guess you missed that story. There are dozens of more examples. And your rebate cheque, and the one for seniors and low income earners, will not be coming. I am sure that with the rising costs of, well, everything, the $30 bucks or so the GST rebate brings will come in real handy. That’s a haircut and a coffee, and a tip.

Dean Barbour

Maple Ridge