The Liberal government’s slashing of the HST by two percent is indicative of a desperate government, according to Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson.
“It just shows desperation that they’ll pretty well do just about anything and everything to save the HST,” said Donaldson, who is also the deputy finance critic. “Really, it’s like bribing people with their own money.”
He said a major point of concern for him and his party is that the decision puts the province in a financial tough spot. That’s because for every per cent the HST is dropped, it means a loss of $900 million annually in the province’s revenues, he said.
“That’s going to handicap and handcuff provincial governments for years to come.”
On the issue of having to make repayments to the federal government, he said transfer payments are made all the time and that a payment plan can be worked out for the $1.6 billion. The province won’t immediately be on the hook for the bill upfront.
Premier Christy Clark announced cutting the HST to 10 per cent last Wednesday, while at the same time saying they would issue a $175 rebate cheque for all children and lower-income seniors.
A mail-ballot referendum on the HST will begin this month.