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BC HST eliminated

British Columbians voted to eliminate the harmonized sales tax (HST) by a vote of 54.73 per cent, according to Elections BC results published online this morning.

The No vote received 45.27 per cent of the votes.

Acting chief electoral officer Craig James announced the results to the Legislative Assembly this morning, and then revealed the decision to reporters shortly thereafter.

Over 1.6 million British Columbians, more than 50 per cent of all registered voters in the province, mailed in their ballots in the referendum, The Tyee reported earlier this month.

The referendum, which lasted between June 13 and August 5, asked B.C. voters to decide whether the province should retain the HST introduced by the Gordon Campbell government or to revert to a combined general and provincial sales tax system.

Returning to the old system means the BC Liberals will have to deal with a $3 billion budget shortfall, including repaying the federal government $1.6 billion it delivered as an incentive for switching to the HST system.

*More to come

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