Friday, December 04, 2009

The Hated Sales Tax

While the NDP may be alone among political parties in presenting a coherent case against the HST, it most certainly isn't lacking support for that position in the general public:
Three-quarters of Ontarians oppose the looming 13 per cent harmonized sales tax, suggests a new Toronto Star-Angus Reid Public Opinion survey.

In troubling news for Premier Dalton McGuinty's Liberals, 70 per cent of the 1,162 people polled said their opinion of the government has worsened due to the HST.
The online poll also found that 76 per cent of respondents are familiar with the tax, which melds the 8 per cent provincial sales tax with the 5 per cent federal GST as of July 1. That means an extra 8 per cent tax on many items that are now exempt from it but are already subject to the HST.

The poll, conducted Nov. 23 to 26, is considered accurate to within 2.8 percentage points.

With 75 per cent opposing the tax and five out of six – 83 per cent – predicting it will make goods and services more expensive, it's clear the government's message that the business-friendly levy will boost the economy is not taking hold.
Of course, the McGuinty government's response is that public opinion will shift if it just repeats its patently false "job numbers" claims often enough. But from an outsider's perspective on both provinces, it looks to me like Ontario has actually had far more of a pro-HST slant in the positions presented publicly to date - making it highly unlikely that a greater focus on the issue from both sides will do anything but further entrench the current state of public opinion.

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