by Jesse Benjamin - BASICS #14 (June / July 2009)
At first glance, it sounds reasonable enough. Take two sales taxes, the 5% GST and 8% PST, and combine them together into a single 13% Harmonized Sales Tax, or HST. Seems fair, doesn't it?
Turns out, it's a massive cash grab by the provincial government. After July 2010, working people will see an 8% increase in the cost of a whole host of goods and services that previously were not included in the PST, including gasoline, utilities, home phone, TV and internet services, hair cuts, used cars, vitamins, meals under $4, train, plane and taxi fares, and more.
Like all taxes on consumption, this will place the greatest tax burden on the working class. The province is promising to issue rebate cheques - the first of which will be issued conveniently right before the next election - but the amounts are unlikely to come even close to offsetting the additional costs. Demand of Dalton McGuinty and all Ontario provincial legislators that they stop trying to balance their budgets on the backs of the most vulnerable and hardest working people in our society!