British Columbia deserves well-informed, sound tax policy in an environment with maximum certainty

Plan: The HST Referendum is an essential way for people to make their voices heard. I strongly support the right of the public to have their say in an HST referendum and disagree with those who would take away that option. While it is my personal belief that the HST is sound tax policy for a more competitive economy, I have announced my intention to respect the will of the people as they make themselves heard through the upcoming HST referendum. If 50 per cent plus one of British Columbians vote to scrap the tax, I will eliminate it. It is my priority to ensure that a plan is in place to act on whatever decision British Columbians make.

Plan: As government, we need to be flexible and open to change as we continue the discussion with British Columbians about our taxation system. It is important to consider changes to the HST, and this is part of the conversation I am having with British Columbians. For example, I have stated that I will begin a conversation with British Columbians as to whether we reduce the rate from 12% to 10%. I will look into whether the HST could involve an initial 1% reduction in 2011 and another 1% when provincial revenues warrant.

Plan: Sound tax policy requires that the public has a real and informed choice. In the months ahead, before we take this historic vote, I intend to foster an informed and honest debate on the HST. For the good of our Province, it is time to do what we neglected to do at the outset – share the facts, both pro and con, about the HST, eliminate the scare mongering and politics, and allow the public to make an informed decision.


We must leverage our people, talent and resources to build opportunities across BC

Plan: We need to ensure that any made-in-BC economic plan for the future takes into account the tremendous contributions and capacity of our Asian communities. No other province in Canada has better connections to Asia. We need to leverage those connections to access markets, build business alliances and identify overseas opportunities. I believe we can better put those connections to work for BC.

Plan: We must also make sure that both our First Nations and non First Nations communities are a big part of BC's economic future. If we’re going to create jobs and opportunities right across the province, communities need to be part of that decision process.

Plan: Encouraging new, sustainable jobs in BC is a priority for me. I want to talk to British Columbians about how we can encourage new investment in R&D as well as growing our green technology sector in order to create new, sustainable jobs here right here in BC.


We must continue to work to reduce unnecessary barriers to economic growth

Plan: As Minister of State for Deregulation, I worked with my colleagues to reduce unnecessary red tape by a third to facilitate business growth and investment in BC. I want to continue to work toward reducing unnecessary burdens on growth in the province. For example, I recently announced my support for a federal initiative to ease restrictions on the Canadian wine industry, making it easier for British Columbia wines to have access to the broader Canadian market. As Premier, I would help BC do its part to empower consumer choice and facilitate the free flow of Canadian wine across Canada.

Want to support Kevin Falcon? Click here to join the BC Liberal Party. The BC Liberal Party leadership vote will take place on February 26, 2011. Any member of the Party in good standing on Feb. 4, 2011 is eligible to vote.