Liberals deny dawdling over end to HST

Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster denies the government is dragging out removal of the HST.

The NDP has called on the B.C. Liberals to expedite the process to scrap the harmonized sales tax after a majority of voters endorsed extinguishing the tax this summer.

“We’re doing it as prudently and quickly as possible. It’s not an easy fix,” said Foster.

“There is a regulatory process to follow and we have an agreement with the federal government and we need to renegotiate.”

Ottawa provided B.C. with $1.6 billion when the province entered into the HST.

“They will now want part of that back and we’re trying to do the best we can for British Columbians,” said Foster of working out terms with the feds while ensuring fiscal needs during the economic downturn.

The NDP claims a delay in removing the HST is hurting the economy and forcing the public to continue to pay for a tax they oppose.

“The Liberal government is playing games by saying it will take more than a year-and-a-half to remove,” said Mark Olsen, local NDP candidate.

“Meanwhile, ordinary people are still paying this tax and the delay is costing BC jobs and economic activity.”

Olsen wants Foster to be more vocal in representing constituents.

“Mr. Foster needs to immediately act on behalf of the people of Vernon-Monashee and get his government to take this seriously and act quickly to abolish the HST,” he said.

Foster says he has been contacted by North Okanagan residents questioning the timeline for ending the HST.

But he insists there is a need to consider all financial factors while moving towards that target.

“We don’t want to make things worse by moving quickly,” said Foster.


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