Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tim Hudak is Losing His Credibility Faster Than Mike Harris Did

Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak, is making a complete idiot of himself over the HST, clearly just making stuff up now.

If this is the best he's got, then I don't see the PC party winning an election in this province anytime soon.

But then what did you expect from a Mike Harris protege. The worst premier we ever had.

PC leader, OFA face off over HST’s impact
By Kevin Werner

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak says the Ontario Liberals’ proposed harmonized sales tax (HST) will plow farmers under a financial burden.

But the president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) disagrees, saying the HST will actually help economically-stressed rural communities.

At a London, Ont. event last week, Hudak said the proposed tax will “discourage people from getting into the farming business in the first place.”

He said farmers purchasing 100 acres of farmland at $10,000 an acre will have to pay an additional $80,000 in harmonized sales tax. He also said the “point-of-sale-exemption” that farmers now receive for the PST will be “history” when Premier Dalton McGuinty implements the HST on July 1, 2010.

“That is not correct,” said OFA president Bette Jean Crews. She said no decision has been made by the province to eliminate the point-of-sale-exemption. “It’s a work in progress,” said Crews. “We are still lobbying for that.”

Under the Ontario Farm Business Registration Program, provincial farmers have a card that exempts them from PST on farm items at cash registers. To qualify for the card, farmers need to show they are earning $7,000 in gross revenue.

A call was made to Hudak’s assistant asking to talk to the newly elected Progressive Conservative leader to elaborate on his statement. Hudak did not return the call.

There is some concern among farmers that they may have to apply monthly or quarterly for a rebate to the provincial government under the new HST, a similar process they already do for the federal government’s GST.

Roy Shuker, president of the Hamilton-Wentworth Federation of Agriculture (HWFA), says he’s afraid the exemption could be taken away from farmers. Still, regardless of how the HST will affect the farm sector, it will have an impact on farmers.

“We are consumers, too,” he said.

Shuker acknowledged the HWFA hasn’t seen any details about the proposed HST, nor how it will be implemented. And he knows the OFA has been talking to provincial officials about the issue.

“It might not be that bad,” he said.

Crews said OFA researchers have found that harmonizing the 5 per cent GST and the 8 per cent PST will turn out to be “a real benefit for us.”

She said the OFA says the agricultural sector could save about $30 million a year. Crews didn’t know how much money individual farmers would save. As for beginning farmers, she said, the OFA will be working in collaboration with financial institutions to assist young farmers financially.

Hudak stated the HST will prevent start-up farmers from getting into the agricultural business.

“Start-up farmers will have to include the cost of the DST (Dalton Sales Tax) in any mortgages they take out to buy new farm property,” he explained.

Ontario government officials have argued farmers’ rebate eligibility will be expanded under the HST to include trucks, light vans, vehicle parts, furniture, lawn mowers, farm equipment, computer services, office equipment and refrigeration units. In addition, families earning less than $160,000 per year will get three payments totalling $1,000, and individuals will see a $300 rebate.

The HST is proposed to be applied to fast food, home heating fuels, children’s clothing, diapers, feminine hygiene products, books and child care seats. New homes costing less than $400,000 will only be subjected to the 5 per cent GST.

In 1997, the federal and provincial sales taxes were merged in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. British Columbia recently announced it will merge its provincial sales tax with the GST by next year.

Hudak has been criticizing the harmonized tax, arguing it will unfairly hit families, renters, farmers and other vulnerable people during an economic recession.

“Ontario farmers deserve our support, especially now during tough economic times,” he said.
Still, Hudak has refused to say what he will do about the HST once it takes effect July 1, 2010. Instead, he has said McGuinty will ultimately not implement the HST.

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