As April Fool's Day (or HST Day, your choice) approaches, I worry more about making ends meet here on the, um, gentle island. Two headlines in the business section of a recent Guardian increase my worry.
‘HST will ease P.E.I.'s pain from region's economic weakness, APEC predicts'. No offence, but I think the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council is more interested in business' well-being than mine, a consumer. Its recent report says "the HST is forecast to increase revenues on P.E.I. by $25 million." Trouble is this will, in all likelihood, be immediately spent like drunken sailors by our government.
On the next page, the headline says ‘Economy is showing signs of weakness on slowing inflation, drop in retail sales'. So, while the wizards at APEC tell us HST is our saviour, who is going to explain to me how dropping retail sales are going to help P.E.I.'s economy? If I'm paying about $10 more a month on electricity and God knows how much more a month on gas, clothing and other necessities, those dollars won't be spent on retail purchasing. What are the retailers, who've been crying for HST for years (and promise to pass savings on to us, the consumer) going to do when Islanders spend a lot more of their disposable income on tax, and less in their stores?
I wonder if the poorhouse will charge HST on rent?