#56 – Ontario is going to have a harmony tax.

The Province of Ontario and the Federal government have been working in harmony to involve us in what they call a harmonized sales tax. That will be HST for short. It is really just a combination of the Ontario Sales Tax (OST) and the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST). While it is called a harmonized tax, it is in reality a tax that will cause a great deal of disharmony.

It is important to understand the difference between an HST, OST and GST, before we can explain why the new tax should be called the Harmony Tax (HT). If you are still in doubt on what all this means, you will find out the hard way on July 1, 2010. You will be able to celebrate Canada’s birthday and your awakening all at the same time.

It will be a cruel awakening. The first thing to regret on July 1 is that the former OST was a sales tax on goods. The federal GST is on goods and services. The operative word is services. It was about 20 years ago that Canadians discovered what it meant to be taxed on services as well as manufactured goods. The GST was brought in by Brian Mulroney as Prime Minister and Michael Wilson as Finance Minister. Neither could get himself elected again.

While Premier McGinty and his people might actually have designs at another run for the brass ring, they are not helping their chances. The problem is that they could not resist the blandishments and bribes from Harper’s Conservatives in Ottawa to put it in.

But nobody wants to recognize that it was the federal conservatives who pushed the harmonized tax on Ontario. The last person who wants to recognize that fact is Tim Hudak, the rabid Harrisite who won the Ontario Conservative leadership this year. The new NDP leader is also fighting against the tax but nobody can remember her name.

Hudak, in recent years has been standing stud to Deb Hutton, who, as executive assistant to the Premier, was reputed to be the brain behind Mike Harris’ Conservative regime. The thought of a possible repeat of that experience is enough to make Ontario voters’ skin crawl.

This leaves nobody to call Premier McGinty on the size of the tax increase he is inflicting on the voters. The claim from McGinty and his fat finance minister that the HST is cash neutral could be several billion dollars short of the truth. After many years in the business world, this business person has a very difficult time understanding how the harmonized tax will be good for business. (And do not ask your lawyer or accountant that since they will start to charge eight per cent more for their services on July 1.) Just wait until a voter has to buy a funeral and finds out what the new tax is on that. Only the deceased will be uncaring but will not be voting for McGinty again anyway.

All this voter knows is that living in a condominium, that uses electric heat, 90 kilometres from the city, the harmonized tax will not be user friendly.

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