SPRINGHILL – The Springhill and Area Chamber of Commerce is opposed to any change to the HST that would see it increased.
During a recent meeting in Amherst with Finance Minister Graham Steele over the province’s deficit, the chamber was one of many who opposed increasing the province’s HST by two per cent to help balance the books.
“We advised that an increase in HST would be detrimental to Cumberland County,” chamber president Frank Likely said of a submission he provided the minister.
“Changing the HST here (in Nova Scotia) would cause businesses to have to change their whole invoicing system.”
He pointed out the issue is a big concern for this county because so many businesses have sales regions that include parts of New Brunswick. If Nova Scotia’s tax rate changed, it would increase paperwork for businesses that cater to both provinces.
In his submission, Likely indicated a tax increase would significantly raise the cost of doing business in Cumberland and the “benefit of harmonization will have been lost.”
Not only would the increase be a technical nightmare, Likely says it would also exacerbate the issue of cross-border shopping.
“Creating a further two per cent differential in all goods and services would only make the problem worse,” he said.
Likely also pointed out with the three largest provinces set to come on board with the HST, it would “only create more chaos and confusion among businesses and visitors should Nova Scotia be the one province with an HST which would no longer be in harmonization with any of the others.”
He said having a truly harmonized sales tax with all provinces imposing the same rate streamlines operating costs for businesses and encourages visitors to spend evenly.
“Knowing the tax rate will be the same in Nova Scotia as it is in New Brunswick encourages our visitors to spend their money as they travel, spreading their money among the many communities and provinces they visit.”