The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce pushed for Manitoba to introduce a harmonized sales tax and a plan for a “Made in Manitoba” implementation at a news conference Tuesday morning.
“We believe that Premier Selinger has no choice but to move forward on this issue,” said the Chamber’s president Dave Angus. “Failure to take action will put Manitoba businesses at a tremendous disadvantage with companies in other provinces when it comes to encouraging investment and job creation in the province.”
By July 2010, about 94% of Canada will have adopted the new tax, the Chamber says.
Before he was Manitoba’s premier, Greg Selinger was finance minister and said consumers could end up paying more with a harmonized sales tax, but was also a strong proponent of it back in August. The province could end up saving millions each year in administration costs, as Ottawa collects the new tax.
Colin Craig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation previously said that harmonization could benefit many parties. The idea is that business owners would no longer have to pay PST on raw materials.
Opposition on HST has been in the forefront as well — realtors, farm groups and book sellers are just a handful of the groups against it.
By July, British Columbia and Ontario will both adopt the new tax. The Chamber wants Manitoba to act quickly to have HST in place at the same time as the two other provinces.
Premier Selinger has yet to recall legislature since being elected, which is where the idea of HST would be debated before it could move forward.
UPDATE: Colin Craig of the CTF has sent along a document (PDF, 201 KB), which includes a list of goods and services that would see a tax hike if HST is introduced. “Of course the province would likely extend tax exemptions for certain goods and services (eg. children’s clothing),” Craig added.
“As an organization, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is open to harmonization, but only if the government can show it would not increase the tax burden on families. This can be achieved through tax relief in other ways (eg. a reduced, combined rate, income tax credits, etc.)”