New B.C. Chamber boss says revamped sales tax model a priority

By Ian Holmes
October 11, 2016 - 6:20pm Updated: October 11, 2016 - 8:10pm

NANAIMO — More pressure is being applied by the B.C. Chamber of Commerce to change the province's sales tax model.

Newly hired B.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO Val Litwin says the current provincial sales tax needs to be replaced to help make our businesses more competitive. He says a submission to the B.C. government's Budget Committee for a "made in B.C." approach to move away from the PST was made on Tuesday.

“I think what we're looking at is a tax that allows input credits for those folks that are on the manufacturing value chain so that they can keep their costs low and get their products to market when they export,” said Litwin.

Litwin says that B.C.'s tax competitiveness was hurt by the 2011 rejection of the harmonized sales tax.

“We think there is a lost opportunity there for our economy and certainly we've been advocating for a value added tax here in British Columbia,” said Litwin. “The B.C. government has to sharpen its pencils and I think they are keen to do it.”

In 2011, British Columbians rejected the harmonized sales tax in a referendum after it was implemented by the Gordon Campbell led Liberals a year earlier without public consultation.

Litwin was in Nanaimo Tuesday speaking at the Island Regional Conference of Chambers. He took over as CEO and president of the B.C. Chamber in September.

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