Falcon urges business to sell HST

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon says there are still many people making up their minds about the harmonized sales tax.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon says some people are still undecided about whether to stick with the HST.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon’s speaking tour took him to the Victoria Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, telling business leaders they can “unashamedly” advocate for a harmonized sales tax with a lower rate.

Business people reminded Falcon that not all of them support the HST, and asked why the rate reduction from 12 to 10 per cent can’t take place right away. Falcon replied that the loss of that much revenue has to be phased in over three years, as the federal government did when it lowered the goods and services tax.

Reducing it faster would risk downgrading the province’s triple-A credit rating, Falcon said, so the B.C. government chose to offer $200 million worth of transition payments to families with children and seniors with income less than $40,000 a year instead.

Speaking to reporters after the speech, Falcon said he believes about 20 per cent of people are still undecided about the HST. Referendum ballots have been distributed to parts of the province, but most remained hung up by a labour dispute at Canada Post.

He denied that his ministry is using its advertising campaign to persuade people to vote “no” in the referendum and keep the HST, saying the ads are all factual information.

“We support HST, we think it is the right public tax policy,” Falcon said. “But I think that information campaign is about saying to the public, get informed.”

Premier Christy Clark met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper Thursday, but she said afterwards she did not discuss the possible repayment of a $1.6 billion federal transition payment if voters reject the HST.

There will be no negotiations until the province knows the fate of the HST, which won’t be until August, Clark said.

Just Posted

More BC Transit stops possible in Houston and area

But prospect hinges on financing by local governments

CT scanner to aid Houston and area patients

Scanner approved for Bulkley Valley District Hospital in Smithers

Hike across Western Hemisphere passes through Houston

By the time he had reached Houston, Holly Harrison was walking on… Continue reading

Houston RCMP to crack down on distracted driving

A Houston RCMP officer just recently finished a specific training program to… Continue reading

Houston Health Centre receives donation for a CT scanner for the Bulkley Valley

Debi Smith, Author of ‘Running from Cancer’ decided she would donate $1… Continue reading

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

B.C. pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions from around B.C. for National Puppy Day 2018

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

Walking from Argentina to Alaska

Holly ‘Cargo’ Harrison is now in northern B.C. on his journey from Argentina to Alaska.

Most Read