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Finance Minister lays out plans for PST reinstatement

 

B.C. Finance Minister Kevin Falcon has unveiled the province’s plan for the reinstatement of the Provincial Sales Tax.

Although disappointed, he says the province will honour their decision.

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"I wish it was a different result. As a British Columbian I wish it was a different result, but it’s not, and we’ll respect the result that came in and we’ll move forward as quickly as we can to put things back in place."

The transition back to the combined 12 per cent PST and GST is expected to take 18 months.

The plan is restore the PST at 7 per cent by March 31, 2013. The tax will apply to the same services as it did before the harmonized tax was instated.

Falcon has established an action plan to assist in the process.

A project team is already in place to work with the federal government to create transitional rules for the business community will understand how to make the switch.

As previously projected, Falcon estimates the switch back will cost the province three billion dollars.

That includes returning the 1.6 billion dollars in transition money it was lent by the federal government, as well as loss of revenue.

Falcon admits that the way the HST was brought in in the first place was a problem.

"This has obviously been a pretty challenging excercise in public policy development and I think perhaps a lesson, as I said before, in how not to introduce public ploicy change."

Speaking after the Finance Minister, Premier Christy Clark echoed that sentiment.

"I think if the HST had been introduced in a different way, it may have ultimately met with a different reception."

Both Falcon and Clark will now turn their focus to job creation and public consultation.

The Finance Ministry intends to report on the transition to PST on a quarterly basis.

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