As the HST debate still rages and the referendum date closes in, the BC Government today announced the formation of an independent panel to search out once and for all (or so they hope) the definitive answer to so many questions and hopefully cool the hot debate on the HST front - should it stay or should it go. No doubt the HST issue is key to all political parties in an upcoming election - the opposition will use it as their priority platform issue for a run at power while the Liberals will stand their ground and of course - cross their fingers the results of this independent panel - concluding it is a good thing for business and job creation Provincially - the key economic driver. I doubt anyone really cares who is in power at the moment - word on the street is - people want jobs, jobs, jobs.
A newly appointed independent panel will report to British Columbians on a fact-based analysis of the implications of keeping the HST or returning to the PST and GST sales tax system, Parliamentary Secretary for HST Information John Les and Finance Minister Colin Hansen announced today.
“British Columbians want and deserve to have all the facts about the two options so they can make an informed decision on whether to support the HST or to return to the PST and GST sales tax systems,” said Les.
“Given the fractious debate that has led to the HST referendum, we feel that it is essential for voters to receive an independent, expert assessment of the options in the upcoming referendum,” said Hansen.
The panel members are Jim Dinning, former finance minister of Alberta, chair of the Canada West Foundation and chancellor of the University of Calgary; former B.C. Auditor General George Morfitt; Coast Capital Savings CEO Tracy Redies; and Simon Fraser University professor John Richards. The panel will be chaired by Jim Dinning.
“Members of the panel understand how important this referendum decision is for British Columbians and the future of the province. We know people want to understand the choices and what they mean. Voters need the facts before they go to vote,” said Dinning. “The panel will do all that it can to deliver to British Columbians a plain-speaking, straightforward set of facts that will help them make a choice.” The panel has 10 weeks to complete its work and will deliver a final report to the public by the first week of April 2011.
This will be very interesting to watch - the results and of course the fall out and how the political parties will position themselves. Either way - stand by for inflated chests - one side or the other.
On the real estate front - these findings would most certainly affect potential new home purchases - even today there are some buyers hesitating to either purchase or build. Some are willing to wait it out which has forced developers to begin offering "deals" on new homes nearing completion with rebates, reductions, bonuses and pricing including the net HST. Worth taking a look - but - new construction has its own demons. If you cannot answer either of these questions - what is a Disclosure Statement and what rights does the developer have before and during construction - you truly should seek out your own representative. Contact me anytime to discuss the answers.