Caledon Against the Upcoming HST Tax
Interesting article from the Caledon Enterprise:
The Town of Caledon has lent its voice to the opposition of the Harmonized Sales Tax.
On August 12, 2009 the Town of New Tecumseth stood up against the proposed harmonization of the Goods and Services Tax with the Provincial Sales Tax, a tax that is set to be implemented in July, 2010.
During Council on January 12, Caledon’s politicians supported a resolution to send their words of displeasure to the province as well.
According to that resolution, Council sees considerable concern amongst residents and business owners about the negative impacts of the harmonized tax.
And according to Caledon’s mayor, the tax could launch another slow down in an already stifled economy.
“I think what’s going to happen is people will quit buying things,” said Mayor Marolyn Morrison. “There’s a slow down now, and I don’t think it’s going to help that at all.”
Morrison believes that the tax is coming, no matter what opposition is shown, due to a deal struck between the federal and provincial government to see the last remaining province without an harmonized tax create one. But, she said, having the Town on the record with their opposition is a positive thing and resident and municipality complaint should hopefully open some eyes.
“I would like to think that when AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario) speaks and all these municipalities speak, the province will sit up and say you know what, they’ve got a point.
“But I’ve seen municipalities go through this before with other things. Sometimes you sink hundreds of thousands of dollars into preparing briefs to show just how negative something is going to be, and then, in the end, you should have just saved your money.”
Caledon’s MPP Sylvia Jones has long been a critic of the tax, and shared many of the sentiments expressed by Caledon’s Council.
“The HST is a tax grab, short and to the point,” said Jones. “There’s going to be literally hundreds of items that right now are not taxed with PST, but will be as of Canada Day.”
Jones explained that she believes the Liberals are entrenched in the move because of the massive revenue they will earn from the harmonization of the tax. She doesn’t know how effective the municipalities displeasure will be, but supported the local politicians who are acting on behalf of their constituents displeasure and told the residents to make their voices heard.
“The only time I see any change in government direction is when they hear from the residents,” said Jones. “The most recent example I can give you is when (Premier Dalton) McGuinty brought forward a law or proposal which was going to change how young people’s drivers licenses are handled in the first couple years. Facebook groups started, people came forward and they (government) backed down. I think you have to constantly tell your elected officials, whether you’re in opposition or not, what they’re doing right, or what they’re doing wrong.”
Jones said that Caledon residents will see increased costs in gas, home heating oil, television and phone bills, funeral expenses, the purchase of a home and legal fees. “Even anytime you enter your kids in any type of sport. Baseball, soccer, hockey, you name it. All those things are going to have HST and right now do not.”
Jones said that she is still hearing from constituents who are stopping her in the street and telling her how upset they are by the harmonized tax. She believes that the province has not heard enough resident complaint as she said because the provincial cabinet didn’t feature any changes of position for any finance ministers, “It doesn’t appear Dalton (McGuinty) is backing down from it (HST).”
Morrison mentioned that the Town of Caledon staff has been instructed to create a report to bring to council showing what the exact impact of the tax will be.
“It will be an interesting report to see,” she said. “Because there are supposed to be savings within the tax too, but our staff will show both sides.”
Caledon’s Mayor said that there are some situations where the tax is supposed to save residents money, such as in the purchase of cars, but she said even those savings can be masked, as it could be that the retailer gets a savings they are supposed to pass on to the consumer, but it could be their choice.
“My understanding is it will be a savings in some products, but that it is only a savings if the retailer doesn’t take up the room. So if the retailers lower their price the amount that is saved, that’s when you actually see savings. And with the economic hardships retailers have seen in the recession, I can’t see any lowering their price. Can you?”
Caledon will find out this July.