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NEWS RELEASE · 19th July 2011

Yesterday's release of the B.C. government Public Accounts clearly shows that the Liberal government either can't or won't come clean on the HST. New Democrat Finance Critic Bruce Ralston says that given the very significant decision British Columbians are currently making in the HST referendum, government should provide real evidence of the impact of the HST on the budget and the provincial economy.

"B.C. has now experienced nine months with the HST, yet government says it has not done the calculations that would indicate how much revenue the HST raised in the first year. Minister Falcon chooses to keep us all in the dark and continues to fear monger about what will happen if citizens exercise their democratic right to vote yes and scrap the HST," said Ralston.

"We have heard so many stories from this government about what the HST will and won't do – a few hard facts would have been welcome. From whether it is really 'revenue neutral' to whether all money raised would go to health care – the story is always changing. What we do know is that the HST is a $1.9 billion tax shift from corporations to families and small business."

The finance minister repeatedly makes a false argument that returning to the PST/GST will blow a $3 billion hole in the budget. Ralston said that this simply isn’t true.

"The $1.6 billion HST 'signing bonus' would clearly be repaid over time and not immediately. The finance minister assumes, to make his argument, that the PST/GST side would not book the approximately $1.2 billion in revenue over two years that would flow from cancelling the scheduled corporate tax reductions. Keeping that revenue would also be a choice if the PST/GST were returned," said Ralston.

The real hole in the budget would come from cutting the HST from twelve to ten per cent. As Christy Clark herself has noted, "cutting the HST by one point is more than $800 million out of the budget this year and every year after, $1.6 billion for a two-point cut, and we need to ask ourselves where we're going to get that money, because either we're going to have a $1.6 billion bigger deficit or we're going to have $1.6 billion fewer heart operations, special needs teachers, school facilities, hospital emergency rooms." (CKYE - March 21, 2011)

Clearly, since making this statement Premier Clark has done an about- face, despite the huge revenue loss.

Ralston also flagged, as another area of concern, a massive increase in Independent Power Project (IPP) contracts signed. Total spending on long-term contracts, called contractual obligations in the Public Accounts, increased from $53 billion last year to $80 billion. Most of the 51 per cent increase is due to the controversial private power contracts.

The numbers in today's Public Accounts show us a government that is taking care of its friends and not spending much time being accountable to the average British Columbian. Adrian Dix and the New Democrats believe in a government that is open, transparent and has the right priorities for B.C. families.
bring it on - PLEASE!!!!
Comment by Dave on 21st July 2011
Come on Christy - bring on the election as soon as possible before people become more complacent !!