Chamber members okay with HST

Campbell River businesses are in favour of the HST, according to a Campbell River Chamber of Commerce survey.

Campbell River businesses are in favour of the HST, according to a Campbell River Chamber of Commerce survey.

The chamber took the pulse of its membership on the perceived impacts of HST and the impacts that a return to the PST system would have on local business during a members-only online survey.

“It is apparent to us from our member’s response to the survey” Chamber Executive Director, Colleen Evans says in a press release, “that certain industry sectors have experienced more negative impacts from the HST than others but that from the responses we received from our members, they feel strongly that the HST will have a positive effect on our province and most British Columbia businesses.”

The responses from 83 members pointed to overall support for the HST from the business perspective.

When asked to rate, on a sliding scale, the statement: “The HST will have a positive effect on most British Columbia businesses,” 67 per cent of the respondents combined selected “Agree” or “Strongly Agree” while only 17 per cent combined selected “Strongly Disagree” or “Disagree.”

On the topic of the HST’s effect on BC’s economic competitiveness, 51 per cent combined stated that they “Agree” or “Strongly Agree” that “The HST will have a positive effect on British Columbia’s economic competitiveness,” 24 per cent were “Unsure” and 16 per cent combined either “Strongly Disagreed” or “Disagreed”.

Written survey comments, on the impact that the HST has had on member businesses, noted positive impacts that improved the cost of doing business such as: more streamlined bookkeeping, cost savings on the purchase of production equipment, less paperwork for busy business owners allowing for greater productivity, and cost savings on business supplies.

Alternatively, members have also experienced negative effects from the HST including: strain on short term cash flow, customer concerns about higher costs, an increase in costs for things that previously were PST exempt and now have the HST, and hardship over adjusting to a new form of taxation.

The Campbell River Chamber notes value in the recent announcement to cut the HST from 12-10 per cent in that it makes the tax more palatable to consumers, families and some businesses which in turn may help the tax succeed in the upcoming referendum.

“Taking the pulse of our members was important and their general feedback is that the HST is good for business and we will continue to support the HST and encourage others to learn about the attributes of the tax and show their support too,” says Chamber President Gary Thulin.

He adds, “What’s important during the HST referendum is for each person to undertake your own independent research first, make up your mind, and then vote, our economic competitiveness is at stake.”