REALITY CHECK: Finance Minister Falcon Offers Confusion On HST Rebate

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On the first day back in the legislature, Finance Minister Kevin Falcon continued his campaign of confusion on the HST, claiming his “information campaign” will offer unbiased facts while spinning the truth to scare low-income British Columbians into voting to keep the tax in the upcoming referendum.

Falcon's often-used example of how the HST rebate benefits low-income people cites a grave scenario designed to demonstrate the absolute maximum rebate and threatens a single mother with three kids will get “absolutely zero” if we return to the old PST system.

Falcon's claim:

  • “For the single mother with three children that is today receiving $920 a year in HST rebates, why does the leader of the opposition want to go back to a provincial sales tax where that single mother with three children gets absolutely zero.” –Hansard, April 26, 2011

The facts:

  • Falcon implies the HST rebate is free money for low-income people, and fails to mention the very existence of the rebate is to compensate people for the extra costs associated with the HST. In the case of the single mother with three kids, she's paying more for clothing for teens who wear adult sizes, school supplies, bicycles, fees for sports teams or dance classes, and much more.
  • Falcon's claim that recipients would get “absolutely zero” is purposeful fear mongering, and neglects to mention she would still receive $893 per year from the federal GST credit and $219 from the B.C. climate action tax credit, and she would no longer be paying the HST on everyday items and services.
  • A single mother with three children earning $24,000 a year would be living in desperate poverty, with the poverty line for a four-person family above $28,000 in rural areas and above $41,000 in Vancouver, representing a small percentage of B.C.'s population.
  • A family earning the median family income in B.C. of $67,890 would not qualify for any HST rebates.

It's time for Kevin Falcon, Christy Clark, and the rest of the B.C. Liberals to stop interfering and fear mongering about the HST, stop wasting taxpayers' money trying to sell them a tax they don't want, and allow for a fair, truly unbiased HST referendum.

The B.C. New Democrats’ vision for a strong, dynamic economy includes a fair and competitive tax environment, support for small business, fiscal responsibility, a fair minimum wage with predictable increases, and investment in green jobs to diversify our economic base.