Tax hit?

Tax hit

Last year, in a blog posting about the harmonized sales tax, the provincial Conservatives' future communications director Merv Unger stated "disingenuous opposition forces are pretending outrage, demanding more spending while out of the other side of their mouth harping about budget deficits." But, speaking with Public Eye this morning, Mr. Unger said he wasn't describing those fighting the HST but rather "the people who are opposed to increased tax and at the same time demanding more" government services.

Mr. Unger wrote the article on July 27, 2009 - prior to becoming the Conservatives' spokesperson. In it, the sitting Nanaimo city councillor stated the HST is "bringing howls from the usual sources" because it will "include some items and services which are now exempt from the provincial sales tax."

But, he continued, "no matter how vocal any one may get, there's an underlying truth that a lot of people try to overlook. Governments respond to the needs and demands of the electorate - health care, education, roads, the list goes on."

As such, "we can argue until we're blue in the face about which is the best way to tax, the end result is we have to pay no matter how the tax is prescribed."

Indeed, he stated, "The sales tax route is probably the fairest of all taxes, answering the constant argument that "the rich" should pay. Those who have the most spend the most, and wind up paying the most."

"Meanwhile, disingenuous opposition forces are pretending outrage, demanding more spending while out of the other side of their mouth harping about budget deficits."

Asked for his personal opinion on the harmonized sales tax, Mr. Unger told Public Eye, "It's the law of the land. It has been instituted by the government of the day" - which will have the final say-so over what happens to the anti-harmonized sales tax petition.

"So when you look at then, then I think you have to look at what's the best way to deal with something that's already there. I gather it's a five-year contract with the feds anyway. And even the NDP has said they would have no way of getting out of it - unless we wanted to go $1.8 billion further in debt."

"There comes a time when reality sets in. And the reality of the situation is its there. And people who think they can now go retroactively and throw it out - it's just not reality."

The disclosure of Mr. Unger's earlier thoughts on the harmonized sales tax comes at a time when there appears to be a growing split between the Conservatives and the anti-harmonized sales tax movement.

Earlier this week, as first reported by blogger Adrian MacNair, Conservative director-at-large Blake Mackenzie quit, alleging "some of our finest talent in the party is being marginalized because of their opposition to the HST."

"I can no longer support a party that sides with the BC Liberals and the federal Conservative Party over the HST and over the people of BC," Mr. Mackenzie wrote in a resignation letter emailed to select members of the media.

Two months earlier, the party's first vice-president Mischa Popoff also stepped down over what he said were efforts to "water-down" the Conservatives opposition to harmonization - a charged denied by president Wayne McGrath.

The following is a complete copy of the text of Mr. Unger's blog posting.

***

No free ride
Jul 27, 2009 Posted By: Merv Unger Tags: none

British Columbia and Ontario are moving toward a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), combining the two separate Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the Provincial Sales Tax (PST).

That, of course, is bringing howls from the usual sources because the harmonized tax will include some items and services which are now exempt from the provincial sales tax.

No matter how vocal any one may get, there's an underlying truth that a lot of people try to overlook. Governments respond to the needs and demands of the electorate - health care, education, roads, the list goes on.

Special interest groups lament what they claim is government "cutbacks" without a single suggestion on how to keep funding the ever-rising costs. In fact, the only "cutbacks" are the trimming of cost increases. Actual spending in health care and education is still rising.

We can argue until we're blue in the face about which is the best way to tax, the end result is we have to pay no matter how the tax is prescribed. It boils down to a form of NIMBY - the taxes are okay, just don't make me pay.

Nobody likes paying taxes, it's just a matter of finding the best blend to meet the needs of British Columbians. The sales tax route is probably the fairest of all taxes, answering the constant argument that "the rich" should pay. Those who have the most spend the most, and wind up paying the most.

Meanwhile, disingenuous opposition forces are pretending outrage, demanding more spending while out of the other side of their mouth harping about budget deficits.

You can't have it both ways.

2 Comments

Unger seems to have forgotten about the many Conservatives who would not only eliminate the HST but also cut back on wasteful spending such as the platinum-plated pensions for MLAs and the various subsidies government gives to reward people involved in irresponsible behaviour.Is he really a Conservative or just a retread Campbell Liberal?

Well, if Mr. Unger wants to pay the HST he can go ahead because he has the money being in city council...He can pay any tax he wants and afford it...while the other side of BC people are in disgust over the HST..Gee did my meal get more expensive or what??? What about using the resources the revenue that BC and Alberta produces and Saskatchewan having the largest oil fields to cover the tax like Alberta and instead an HST...GST is fine enough don't break what is not broken...the PST was bad enough but the government makes money off the resources in the west...gee I wish I was government at times to make money off the fat of the land...just tax the people who have addictions harder like gamblers and boozers and all the sin tax...that is where the trouble lies in spending money on people who can afford to drink and smoke and see a specialist for their problems...if you can drink, smoke, and gamble you have more money then me...

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