Early poll results suggest that local business favours keeping the HST. But an official from the Summerland Chamber of Economic Development and Tourism stresses the results are neither scientifically accurate nor comprehensive.
“This is a quick survey of the membership and it offers nothing more than a snap-shot,” said Lisa Jaager, chamber manager. The survey shows that as of this writing seven out of ten respondents favour keeping the HST. This figure marks a massive reversal in local support for the controversial tax.
A similar survey conducted in August 2009 revealed 83 per cent of respondents opposed the tax, which combines the federal Goods and Services Tax of five per cent with the Provincial Sales Taxes of seven per cent. Jaager said it is difficult to explain this reversal. Potential reasons include provincial plans to reduce the size of the tax from 12 to 10 per cent, she said, adding the public including entrepreneurs might have gotten used to it.
Whatever the reasons might be, it is clear that public interest in the fate of the HST remains high. More than 9 out of 10 out of respondents so far have said they will participate.
Jaager said the chamber plans to release the results of the survey Friday. As for the actual voting, voters have until Friday Aug. 5 to return their ballots through the mail or directly return to a Service BC or Elections BC collection centre.
Voters are asked to vote ‘Yes’ if they want to eliminate the HST and return to a GST/PST combination. They’re to vote ‘No’ if they want to keep the HST.
The province has pledged to lower the rate to 10 per cent by 2014, along with other changes, designed to benefit low-income earners and families.