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Province to explore changes to sales tax, but won't return to the HST

Last Updated Feb 17, 2016 at 11:57 am PST

Summary

Group representing small businesses wants the entire system overhauled, not studied further

The finance minister says the province is looking to modernize taxation

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – A group representing small businesses wants BC’s tax structure to be overhauled immediately and not studied any further.

This comes after the provincial government announced plans to explore modernizing taxation as part of this year’s budget, which was unveiled Tuesday in Victoria.

It’s not a return to the Harmonized Sales Tax that Richard Truscott with the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses is looking for.

“We certainly don’t want to go back to that,” says Truscott, laughing as he pointed out Finance Minister Mike de Jong would not say the letters ‘HST’ when a reporter asked him about a potential return to the now scrapped the tax during a news conference on budget day.

But given the province already examined the tax structure with a panel in 2012, Truscott adds it’s time for action — not this commission.

“These issues have been examined in great detail. There’s no need to go back to the drawing board. There’s a perfectly good blueprint in place. It’s time to dust that off and implement it, simply put.”

The Business Council of BC is being more receptive to the commission, stating the return of PST has cost businesses $1.5 billion since 2013.

The HST was rejected during a referendum in 2011 and the PST has been around since 1948.