PE: Resurrection of HST discussion on the horizon

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By Staff, The Journal Pioneer

While the provincial government maintains its stand against a harmonized tax, the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce is going on record in support of it.

Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce executive director Bill Schurman.

[SUMMERSIDE, PE] — While the provincial government maintains its stand against a harmonized tax, membership in the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce have gone on record in support of a blended Goods and Services Tax and Provincial Sales Tax.

Chamber executive director Bill Schurman said the chamber has resurrected a survey the organization compiled in 2009 and will be revisiting the issue in the near future.

“This goes back a couple of years but basically the results are 52 per cent of the respondents to the survey, and we had a good response, feel that P.E.I.’s current tax system GST/PST puts their business at a disadvantage compared to other Canadian provinces,” Schurman said. “Sixty-nine per cent of respondents indicate they are in favour of having one sales tax system nationwide. Seventy-one per cent indicated that as business owners, they are generally in favour of P.E.I. harmonizing its PST and its GST.”

But there was a significant difference between the 71 per cent approval rate among chamber members who are business owners and the 55 per cent approval rate among consumers.

“There’s the gap between business owners and individuals and consumers,” he said. Still, “they are generally in favour of P.E.I. harmonizing its tax,” and “69 per cent of those responding felt they had enough information to give their opinion.”

Schurman said that survey was passed on to provincial Finance Minister Wes Sheridan.

“Obviously, it’s becoming a little more of an agenda item with the recent premiers’ meeting. We will revisit it (HST issue) at our next board meeting and gage our membership again. There haven’t been any submissions or… anyone suggesting that any of their opinions have changed.”

However, “The Province is still against it.”

Schurman said that during the consultations, chamber members also indicated they would expect the provincial government to negotiate some exemptions.

He added that while harmonization of taxes is good for business, many consumers don’t see it in the same light, particularly when not all services are subject to both taxes now.

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FACT BOX:

Results from a 2009 survey conducted by the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce...

71% of business owners favour harmonizing GST and PST

55% of individuals and consumers favour harmonizing GST and PST

52% say GST/PST tax system puts them at a disadvantage nationwide

69% favour a one sales tax system nationwide

70% want exemptions for the business community on the input of heat and electrical costs

69% say they have sufficient information on the HST to assess its impact on their business

Organizations: Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce.71

Geographic location: Summerside

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  • Jim Sentance
    March 22, 2012 - 13:58

    I don't know where you get the impression that unprocessed food is subject to GST or HST. Basic groceries are exempt.