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Opinion

What the HST Pulls from Your Pocket

From phone bills to funerals, hits you'll take from the Harmonized Sales Tax.

By Bill Tieleman 13 Oct 2009 | TheTyee.ca

Bill Tieleman is a regular Tyee contributor who writes a column on B.C. politics every Tuesday in 24 Hours newspaper. Tieleman can be heard Mondays at 10 a.m. on the Bill Good Show on CKNW AM 980 or at www.cknw.com. E-mail him at weststar@telus.net or visit his blog.

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Rough! Dog care will cost more.

"Consumers will pay more -- there's no getting around it. The truth is it is a shift in taxation." -- Stephen Spector, Certified General Accountants Association of B.C. president

How much will the B.C. Liberals' Harmonized Sales Tax cost you?

If Premier Gordon Campbell isn't stopped, consumers will pay $1.9 billion a year in HST, with the revenue going to big business, not public services.

But how much more would you personally pay if the B.C. sales tax on previously exempted goods and services jumps from the 5 per cent GST to the 12 per cent HST?

Ching! Ching!

Let's look at some of the new HST costs.

The food and non-alcoholic drink portion of restaurant meals jumps 7 per cent. If you spend $100 a month, add $84 extra HST a year.

Watch TV? On a monthly $60 cable bill, HST adds an extra $50.40.

Surf the Internet? At $50 a month, the HST adds $42 a year.

Belong to a gym? Play golf? Watch the Canucks? You can add 7 per cent more on all of these.

Gym fees of $40 a month would mean an extra $33.60 a year. The HST on two tickets to a Canucks game for $142 is $9.94. Play weekend golf at the University of B.C. eight times for $560 and add $39.20 HST.

Love theatre? Spend $300 on tickets, add $21 in HST. Catch a movie? At $12.50 a ticket, going once a month will add $10.50 in HST annually.

Got a phone? And cell phone? If you spend $100 monthly on both -- and good luck! -- that means an extra HST charge of $84.

Subscribe to a daily newspaper? The Vancouver Sun and The Province daily delivery annual rate of $530 will mean over $37 extra HST.

Have a dog or cat? If Fido or Fluffy need serious veterinarian help, a $1,000 bill will be $70 more with HST.

Even bigger bites

But enough small stuff -- let's spend some real money.

How about that big trip to Europe next summer? Airline tickets for two -- $3,000. Experience -- priceless. New HST charges: $210.

Buying a brand new home? Houses and apartments priced under $400,000 get an HST rebate but 40 per cent of all sales in B.C. cost more than that.

So for an $800,000 house, Vancouver Real Estate Direct estimates you'll pay a whopping extra $36,140.

And don't forget real estate commission fees go up from 5 per cent to 12 per cent HST.

Own a condo? All building maintenance as well as property management firm fees will get an extra 7 per cent HST too.

Even death can't cheat the HST. Funeral services go up an extra 7 per cent too!

And this is only a partial list. Unfortunately, the B.C. government website on HST for some strange reason doesn't even have all these examples, let alone a complete list.

But if you've had enough of harmonization go to www.FightHST.com and sign up. And join my 127,000 member NO BC HST protest group at www.Facebook.com as well.  [Tyee]

Read more: Politics

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