Finance Minister Colin Hansen (left) discussed the HST and related concerns with business people in the Fort St. John area after being invited by Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm./ Kimberley Molina
The B.C. Finance Minister has visited Fort St. John on invitation from Pat Pimm to meet with local businesses and industry officials.
Colin Hansen says one of the main topics that came up in discussions was the HST.
Fort St. John is a town close to the Alberta border and there are many companies that do business on both sides of the provincial border.
Hansen says the HST will actually level the playing field for British Columbian companies since both companies in B.C. and Alberta are now required to charge the HST on items such as labour, when doing business in B.C.
However he does admit that Alberta companies doing business in BC have to be made aware of how the HST works.
The HST has come under scrutiny recently with many residents around the province saying they had believed the Liberal government had specifically said they would not pursue implementing the HST.
The way the government handled the situation has even prompted an HST recall campaign which Hansen says the government never actually promised not to implement it, but does admit the government needs to better explain the benefits of the new tax to both businesses and individuals.
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He says companies doing business with Alberta will benefit since now they will be getting an HST rebate, instead of simply a GST rebate.
Before, B.C. companies would have paid an extra seven per cent in provincial sales tax -without getting a rebate on the PST.
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Mary Polak, the minister of children and family development and the minister responsible for child care, along with Bill Bennett, the minister of energy, mines and petroleum resources, will also be visiting Fort St. John this week.