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HST Already Impacting B.C. Residents

As we announced in yesterday’s blog, Harmonized Sales Tax has officially come into effect in both British Columbia and Ontario. Although many Ontarians have been vocal in their opposition of the new 13% tax which combines GST and PST, B.C. residents have been especially outspoken against the new tax.

Lobbying against the HST for months leading up to its inception, many groups are worried about the significant increase to the cost of living that will be thrust upon families. Even for some business owners, trying to calculate the new tax into the cost of their products has already become a nuisance.

As Kim Westad and David Karp report on The Vancouver Sun’s website, having HST take off on Canada Day was an annoying circumstance for a number of entrepreneurs in British Columbia. Hot dog stand owner, Fred Picard is one of them. Insisting that Canada Day is his busiest day of the year, Picard couldn’t be bothered to reconfigure his prices to include HST so he was forced to “eat” the tax for the day.

Before he even opened his stand yesterday, he had a line up of customers waiting. He wasn’t in the spirit of keeping them waiting any longer. His slogan for the day: “Today, you eat our dogs and we’ll eat the extra tax.”

Restaurant meals, remind Westad and Karp, are among the most popular expenditures that will be subject to the new HST. Previously, people were not taxed both the five per cent GST and the seven per cent PST in B.C. to dine out.

The writers also cite The Noodle Box general manager Sarah Wagstaff who said that she was forced to spend nearly a month preparing the chain’s two locations for the change to HST. The majority of her work involved manually changing prices on menu boards to incorporate the new tax.

In addition, the restaurant’s tills had to be reprogrammed. Needless to say, it was a cumbersome experience that Wagstaff is happy to now have over.

So far, however, tourism in B.C. has not been affected by the new Harmonized Sales Tax, as most visitors are not even aware of the change. Said Maryland native, Sabra Kurth: “It wouldn’t have made a difference to us — we wanted to see B.C.”

B.C. residents, however, are already feeling the pinch in their wallets. The ever-popular Tim Hortons coffee and donut chain has had its prices impacted by HST – something that many will notice in a quick period of time. Just ask Curtis Gregory who bought a large coffee yesterday morning for $1.70. That price would usually get him an extra large.

Said Gregory about the new HST: “They say it’s going to create more jobs and business, but it’s not going to because people aren’t going to be spending as much money out.”

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