[MONTAGUE, PE] — The harmonized sales tax will cost Prince Edward Islanders an extra loonie a day when implemented next spring.
But only for those Islanders who can upsize their combos and make over $55,000 a year.
Those making less will mostly be rebated and spared additional costs.
That was the message delivered here last night at the public meeting held by Provincial Treasurer Wes Sheridan to unravel the mysteries of the controversial tax.
"It's like Robin Hood,'' he said. "The richer pay more."
The meeting focused on the impact the tax would have on business operators (a public impact meeting will he held there in July), and the majority of the almost 40 attendees gave it thumbs up.
"We eagerly look forward to April 1, 2013 so we can go forward with this tax and get a nine per cent tax credit," said Ross Barnes, represening the P.E.I. Construction Association. "It will put us on the same level as our neighbours."
Provincial tax commissioner Beth Gaudet told the crowd that most businesses will actually see the tax they must charge lowered by 1.5 per cent. The HST will be 14 per cent when implemented while the GST/PST now in place is 15 per cent.
"There will be ups and downs depending on what is being purchased, made or taxed, but for the most part it will just the same as paying the GST but less red tape and cost," she explained.
Sheridan said federal cuts, increased pension coverage, and global economic downturns has left the province short by $25 million a year. He said the HST is a fair taxation system that will unhamper business.
"If a farmer wants to build a $450,000 warehouse, he has to pay a PST of $4,500 and with HST he will get that back,'' said the Minister. "And most people in business put that back in their business, creating a new job or upgrading equipment."
Potato farmer Alvin Keenan of Rollo Bay endorsed the HST tax system on behalf of the Federation of Agriculture.
"We're not saying it's the answer,'' he said. "But it will put more money back into our economy."
Two business owners said they work more than 12 hours a day and any taxation savings would help them hire another employee.