"Growing chorus" against HST hike in P.E.I. grows again

Teresa Wright twright@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on March 18, 2016

More industry stakeholders are speaking out about the negative effects the HST has had on Prince Edward Island’s construction sector.

Last week, the Canadian Home Builders' Association on P.E.I told the Standing Committee on Education and Economic Development the number of building permits issued between 2012 and 2014 has dropped from 1,086 to 665, a dip of more than $85 million.

The association blames the harmonized sales tax as the main culprit for this drop.

This week, the Construction Industry Association of P.E.I. raised concern about an increase to the HST rate in P.E.I., saying this would be an added hurdle to further economic growth, fueling activity in the underground economy.

This association joins what the Opposition Progressive Conservatives say is a “growing chorus” of groups raising concern about the negative economic impacts an increase to the HST on Prince Edward Island would bring.

Among the groups and organizations expressing concern are the Canadian Home Builders Council, the Real Estate Association of P.E.I., the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I., the Greater Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the Council of Canadians.

“My concern is that we can clearly see that when the HST was brought in by this government it didn’t help grow the economy as claimed,” said economic development critic Matthew MacKay.

“If the MacLauchlan government goes ahead and raises the HST higher I don’t see how that negative trend will magically reverse itself,” said MacKay.

HST was introduced in P.E.I. in 2013.