Ex–Liberal MLA John Nuraney wants harmonized sales tax "neutrality" details

Restaurant owner John Nuraney isn’t exactly hungry for the harmonized sales tax that will be served up by the provincial government next July.

According to the former B.C. Liberal MLA for Burnaby-Willingdon, who operates a number of A & W outlets, the new tax won’t just hurt consumers, who will have to pay an extra seven percent for their meals.

“I think our businesses will also be affected,” Nuraney told the Straight by phone. “Because the last time the GST was introduced, we lost the equivalent amount of business as the taxes went [up]. So there is a little bit of a concern in the restaurant industry. But I believe discussions are taking place with the minister [Finance Minister Colin Hansen], and hopefully a solution will be found.”

The HST will combine the seven-percent provincial sales tax and the five-percent goods-and-services tax and cover a host of goods and services that are currently exempt from PST.

Nuraney noted that his business may lose the equivalent of at least seven percent in sales, and he called this “significant”.

“I don’t know exactly what the solution is going to be, but the minister is saying that it will be a neutral tax, and the restaurant industry will also experience the same kind of neutrality,” he said. “I think we need to see some details.”

Hansen told the Straight on July 31 that it wasn’t until after the provincial election that he started getting involved in Finance Ministry discussions about implementing a harmonized tax.

Nuraney recalled that during his time as an MLA, there were ongoing talks about this matter. “There has been a lot of discussions in the past about harmonizing,” he said. “It makes a lot of business sense since right now you’ve got two different bureaucracies handling these taxes. This will centralize into one. That will be a lot of cost savings for the taxpayers. I think, as a matter of fact, that it’s a good move on the part of the minister. But there are certain kinks that need to be ironed out.”

Nuraney lost to the NDP’s Kathy Corrigan in this year’s May 12 election in the newly designated Burnaby–Deer Lake constituency.



Van Resident

Aug 13, 2009 at 1:54pm

The consumer will not see the benefits of the HST passed down to them. Business will just pocket the internal savings they have and still charge the customer the same prices.

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Aug 14, 2009 at 7:27pm

Neutral Tax for who? I will be paying much more for many items not being taxed now. If this is a so-called Neutral Tax then why go ahead with it in the first place...

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