CARP members overwhelmingly oppose the HST, in British-Columbia 83% of them disapproved and 60% disapproved strongly. In Ontario where the disapproval rate (86%) was even higher, 65% of members said they strongly disapproved.
Increased consumption taxes must be contained for retirees and those on fixed income. CARP members in both provinces agreed their greatest economic hardship would be the additional tax on home heating and energy costs. Disapproval of harmonization and recognition of the home energy tax burden is highest among our oldest, female, low income members, an especially vulnerable socioeconomic group. The vast majority agree both a home heating/energy rebate and a permanent HST tax credit are appropriate.
In keeping with these results CARP is calling on the B.C. and Ontario governments to introduce the following measures to alleviate the impact of the HST:
Mitigate the imposition of the HST on home energy costs through rebate, exemption or tax credit for seniors based on income. Provide a permanent HST relief grant to seniors based on income.
Members were somewhat satisfied with exemptions for children’s goods, fast food and feminine hygiene products. They found exemptions for medicine, books and groceries to be the most useful.
However, CARP members were decidedly unimpressed with exemptions for newspapers and fast food under $4. Most members reported they would have to cut back on heating or other expenses if faced with PST on their home heating and energy purchases.
They are also calling for public hearings, a vast majority wanted hearings with an overwhelming number of respondents agreeing they were “absolutely necessary” (60% in B.C. and 63% in Ontario).
Liberals in BC and Ontario stand to lose substantial proportions of their core vote if the HST becomes law. In fact, our poll revealed that the HST appears to have already had a negative effect on the BC Liberal Party’s electoral prospects.