So here is an exchange between Langley MLA Mary Polak and I in the Langley Times. The first is my initial letter on the HST, the second Mary's response, the third my yet to be published response.
My initial letter
Mary Polak's response
And this is my response to her response:
Mary Polak is correct in saying that both the BC Green party and the BC Conservatives have supported bringing in the HST. However, the point that I was trying to make, and the point that Ms. Polak missed, is that a more competitive electoral system would keep the ruling party in check. I was not saying that the HST would not have been brought in, but rather that it could have been done differently. For example, the BC Green party recommends that the HST be at 10%, rather than simply combining the two taxes for a sales tax rate of 12%. This approach would make the transition much easier for consumers. We also recommend exemptions be brought in for items such as bicycles, and many measures could be brought in to make the HST less painful for the average person who is still hurting in todays economy. Other provinces have made an effort to help low income people manage the transition, which the BC Liberals have neglected to do so far.
I am not sure why Ms. Polak missed this crucial point, as I made it certain to point out that the HST could be done in a much better way and is not an inherently bad policy. I agree with Ms. Polak that simplifying the sales tax is a good thing. I stressed in my previous letter that the timing of the HST, as well as the way the BC Liberals have handled it has been very poor.
Our electoral system is broken, and is not conducive to quality discussion. One significant improvement to be made with electoral reform is that the Conservatives and Greens, parties that are fiscally responsible, would have been more prominent and could have spoken out to greater effect against the reckless spending of the BC Liberals. Cutting funding to healthcare and education while spending billions on the olympics is reprehensible.
The BC Liberals have run up the biggest deficit in the history of this province, which I and other fiscal conservative are not comfortable with.
I appreciate Ms.Polak's response and hope that the BC Liberals will listen to the suggestions coming from the other parties as well as from the general public, as so far their handling of our tax dollars has been less than stellar.
Travis Erbacher, BC Green Party
Here is Jane Sterk on the HST, which I basically re-stated in my first letter