Books spared from HST

Teresa Wright
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Islanders will continue to pay only five per cent GST after April 1 introduction of harmonized tax

Lt. Gov. Frank Lewis reads the Speech from the Throne

Islanders with a penchant for reading will not have to fear the HST when it comes to P.E.I. this spring.

The province announced Tuesday books will be exempt from the provincial portion of the HST, known as a point-of-sale rebate. That means Islanders will only have to pay five per cent GST on books instead of 14 per cent HST.

Premier Robert Ghiz said this will be done as part of his government’s focus on enhancing education, early learning and literacy.

“We’ve been talking a lot about literacy levels in our province, on education on higher education, on increasing our literacy assessments. Books seemed to make sense in that

manner,” Ghiz told reporters.

But he said this would be the only point-of-sale rebate offered at this time. There will be no exemptions or rebates for electricity or alternate sources of heating, such as wood.

“We can’t cover off everyone,” Ghiz said.

“Yes, we’d love to exempt electricity, woodlot owners, all these different areas, but there’s only a certain amount that we can go out and exempt.”

A 14-per-cent HST was announced as part of the Ghiz government’s spring budget last April.

At that time, government declared home heating oil and children’s clothing and footwear would be the only full HST exemptions.

That’s because the province has only a five-per-cent exemption allowance from the federal government when implementing the harmonized sales tax.

But other provinces that have adopted the HST have also added point-of-sale rebates, which free consumers from paying the provincial portion of the combined federal-provincial HST.

Finance Minister Wes Sheridan told The Guardian last June the reason few rebates will be offered is because government is banking on $25 million a year in new revenues from the new tax in order to meet its budget targets.

Ghiz said Tuesday he wishes he could exempt more items from the HST or add more point-of-sale rebates, but simply cannot afford to do so at this time.

“I’d love to exempt everything. Then we’d have no taxes and we wouldn’t provide any social programs in the province. I can’t do that,” he said.

Opposition Leader Olive Crane said she and her caucus will be voting against the HST legislation to be tabled during this session of the legislature.

She is concerned over the added costs Islanders will be paying for electricity and other goods and services.

“Islanders are struggling to meet their basic needs and it’s unfortunate that government is not listening to Islanders,” she said.

Ghiz said more point-of-sale rebates may be added later when the province’s finances are stronger.

The province will also offer HST rebate cheques to low-income Islanders whose combined household incomes are $55,000 or lower.

Organizations: Islanders, The Guardian

Geographic location: P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • goodthing
    November 14, 2012 - 15:10

    Good thing home heating oil is not going to have the hst tax but then again most people are using electric heat now and days ya almost think thay are trying to play us as all fools.

  • consumer
    November 14, 2012 - 12:23

    Well, here is what I will do,- since the business people and the farmers piushed for us all to suffer the HST, - I will carry on my own little revenge, - anmd don't think I will not stick with it, I have a memory like an elephant, - I will buy absolutely only what I need here on the Island, other purchases will be done off - island, - I will boycut Island produce (with sadness in my heart, but farmers are no longer on my team after they wanted HST). It is most regretable that one mistake (making an inexperienced boy the leader of a Province) can so adversely affect the lifestyle, welfare and cohesion of a people. Democracy run amock with foolish party people railroading the less intelligent , --- and look what we got, - after the truckloads of teenagers put their stamp on Ghiz at the leadership convention. Would be fun to see a book listing the consequences of that fatal day--- the hemlocks were doomed to death, -- among many other things

    • I will be boycotting as well
      November 15, 2012 - 01:11

      I agree consumer! All Islanders should boycott as much as they can to teach everyone that the HST tax grab for the rich to harm the poor, to fund your continued priviledged lifestyle well on into retirement is just the last straw for us. I will not be using my car only for emergencies, (gas prices will go very high with the HST), conserve on electricity, and like "consumer" I will not buy anything that has had people behind the push towards HST, will go off Island as well to buy non-essentials. The less I pay, the less the rich will get richer. I am sick of funding the lifestyle of the rich while I get minimum wage jobs and try to make ends meet, going without many times.

    • Rebecca
      November 15, 2012 - 11:12

      What a silly statement!

  • roll over
    November 14, 2012 - 12:13

    Bill Bradley is absolutely right, - this tax is a fraud, -- the Ghiz government is a fraud for promising not to go with the HST and then doing just that, - but who re-elected them???? Anyone that could not see this gang were dishonest after the first term, did not want to see, - thanks a lot you idiots, but at least you will suffer right along with us, ----- leveling the playing field, - my ass

  • intobed
    November 14, 2012 - 10:59

    Isn't this great? Now the HST will only suck $990 out of my household budget next year, instead of $1000. Thanks a lot Wes.

  • Quiet Observer
    November 14, 2012 - 10:41

    And the BIg winner from PEI implementing the HST, if MONCTON! Moncton retailers are licking their lips just waiting for the return to their good old days of islanders shopping in Moncton big time. And I am sure that Petrocan gas station just across the bridge in NB can hardly wait to see their gas sales skyrocket!

    • Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms
      November 15, 2012 - 11:16

      Breaking News! New Brunswick abolishes dreaded HST! Quick Islanders, get over to N.B. and stock up

  • S.Wood
    November 14, 2012 - 10:22

    That $25 million in extra taxes is not even the correct number the consumers are "hopefully" going to make the government. All the PST that the business sector actually had to pay and will no longer end up paying is going to be absorbed by the consumers also... That being said only if the consumers actually buy. There are many items that come April 1st I will be shopping around for (INCLUDING off province...) Those stores that are in NB that I used to never even set foot in when I would go to Moncton because it didn't make sense to pay more in taxes... guess what NB will have a lower tax rate now. Reitmans, Smart Set, Shoe Company, Aldo, (in NB) now may actually get my business. Good work Liberals! You have levelled that playing field real well (for NB and NS)

  • tobias
    November 14, 2012 - 10:09

    As planned all along. They needed some kind of a ' we are listening and concerned about knowledge or something good like that ' message for this time. How much did the Ghiz govt. pay in our taxes to contrive this autumn headline on HST? It was Ok to waste our time forcing us to lobby on this one, guys.. We had to keep limbered up for everything else you are doing anyway. PNP, Plan B, HST. Homburg, Health PEI, etc.

  • SG
    November 14, 2012 - 09:56

    (Ghiz said more point-of-sale rebates may be added later when the province’s finances are stronger.) And whose responsibility is it to ensure our province's finances remain strong? What was the return on the $4 million investment on the Lotto Game Geo Sweep?

  • SG
    November 14, 2012 - 09:44

    (Opposition Leader Olive Crane said she and her caucus will be voting against the HST legislation to be tabled during this session of the legislature.) How many votes will that be Olive? Four or Five? What good will that do? None ! Come next Election I won't be voting for the Liberals or Conservatives. I've had More Than Enough! A Majority Gov. and an Opposition with a half dozen members that do not have the power to change anything! Welcome to PEI where the Majority of Islanders continue to vote for the same two Political Parties every Election and end up with the same results. Every hear of the old Adage "If you keep doing the same thing you will continue to get the same results?" Only On PEI !

    • Bob Aja
      November 14, 2012 - 10:02

      Actually SG, it is not only on P.E.I. that voters vote for the same two parties at every election. If you take a look voters in most province vote for the same two parties. They may be not Liberal and Conservative, they may be Liberal or PQ. but most province have the same two parties sharing power at different times.

  • Bill Bradley
    November 14, 2012 - 09:41

    This, from a government that "promised" and "swore" that PEI would NOT be implementing HST if re-elected and meanwhile, they were in talks with the Federal Government on the conditions of HST implementation. Should this not be considered fraud??? This kind of reminds me of his "promises" to reopen the Souris Emergency room at their hospital. Islanders just seem to allow this kind of false promises and blatant lies and never speak out about it, WHY?

  • Sylvia
    November 14, 2012 - 09:34

    I'm in full support of not putting HST on reading material but I would prefer if it wasn't put on electricity. I think that would be more important. Once the HST comes in I think there will be more people depending on the food bank, having to eat at the upper room soup kitchen, and having to choose between groceries, rent, heat or medications. With people having to work for low wages, I think we'll see more young people leaving P.E.I. and going to Alta. to find jobs. As an older senior, I have no choice but to stay here but if I were a young person I would seriously consider leaving P.E.I. If this government doesn't come to its senses, I can see the possibility of P.E.I. having to declare bankruptcy. I am not being cynical, simply being realistic. I didn't vote for this government in 2007 or 2011 and my greatest hope is that they won't be re-elected in 2015.

  • tim
    November 14, 2012 - 09:31

    Mr Ghis is banking on $25M from this little venture, eh? Gotta find a way to make up for all the $$ he and his cronies have piSSed away with their silly investmwents such as Homburg's Grand Hotel (I still chuckle over that), as well as the PNP fiasco, plus plus. Mr Ghiz, how come (and please answer in REAL speak, not this political BS you sputter) WHY you feel you must further tax electricity as well as many other household BASICS when your province is in such a sorry financial state???

  • waldorf
    November 14, 2012 - 09:26

    These clowns sold us out to Harper they spent and spent like no tomorrow. we never had a government’ like this one from the PNP TO PLAN B. White-collar crime is a financially motivated, nonviolent crime committed for illegal monetary gain They are white -collar crooks that know how to play the game well. Go down the list of pnp names . All we need is a good reporter to put some of these crooks in jail ask the questions who what when why and where.......

  • Puzzled
    November 14, 2012 - 08:48

    Can anyone explain why HST remains or will remain on Electricity yet not on fuel oil ? The province has energy advisers running all over convincing people to convert to various Heat Pumps etc that operate on electricity. This is supposed to be helping people get off a non- renewable resource yet they tax the alternative and do not tax the very one they are attempting to move people away from. Does one hand know what the other is doing?

    • Sylvia
      November 14, 2012 - 09:36

      No, they're clueless.