Aug 26, 2011 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Vancouver (August 24, 2011) - The BC Chamber of Commerce today expressed disappointment over the loss of the HST referendum, noting that business confidence and certainty will be shaken, but is looking ahead to support a new & improved PST that could include some of the efficiencies and competitiveness of the HST model. "It's a disappointing decision that will have a profound impact on the economy, on business, on workers and on unions," said John Winter, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce. "While we respect the outcome of the referendum and the need to restore a PST/GST system our members have been clear, we need a dialogue on what that looks like and how we can create a tax system that protects BC jobs." "Given the fact that the vote was close and this vote signifies the beginning of a negotiation process with the federal government we do not need to make any hasty decisions," continues Winter. "Now is not the time for decisions, now is the time for reflection and a pause before we determine the best type of tax." The Chamber also expressed concern about the implications this decision will have on the provinces fiscal situation knowing that $1.6 billion will have to be returned to Ottawa as a consequence of rescinding the federal agreement. "Returning BC to a sound fiscal footing and balanced budgets is critical to our long term prosperity," said Winter. "With a $1.6 billion bill to pay, BC will be forced to extend the province's deficit-reduction schedule or incur new tax hikes and/or spending cuts. Business confidence, certainty and jobs are at risk." The BC business community will come forward to government with options on how to transition to the PST/GST as well as explore opportunities for a new consumption tax model.
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