The HST vote makes complete sense

Ipsos Reid released a poll this morning on the HST Referendum.  The first question perfectly describes why the yes side carried the day, despite being outspent about 40 to 1.

1. In your opinion, what will be the impact of scrapping the HST and returning to the GST/PST system on each of the following? Select one response per row.

Positive Impact Negative Impact Neutral/No real impact Don’t Know
You and your family 43% 25% 24% 8%
The overall BC economy 17% 49% 20% 14%

43% said scrapping the tax would be good for them and their family.  And a similar 49% said it would be bad for business.  In other words those voting to scrap the tax voted for their personal economic interests ahead of the BC economy.

Ross K over at the Gazetteer marries that with a chart showing the class distribution of that vote.  The ridings voting to scrap the tax were those representing average to lower income voters.

Add that to what’s happened to those voters in BC over the last decade… consumption tax increases combined with business and high income tax breaks means they are paying the freight for tax shifts that favour business and high earners.

People didn’t vote against BC’s eonomy,  They didn’t vote against “economic experts” as the Globe suggested this morning.  They didn’t vote against rich people.

They voted in their own interest.

And isn’t that what you are supposed to do?.

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10 Responses to The HST vote makes complete sense

  1. RossK says:

    Thanks Ian.

    Just to be clear though, the graph I posted, which shows pretty strong correlation between income and HST vote preference was actully the work of Iglika Ivanova from the CCPA.

    Meanwhile, in other news….

    As we predicted previously, the GordonCampbellLegacy government is now going to one of their old reliables in an attempt to drive a wedge into the heart of public perception by pushing the meme that public school teachers are the root of all evil.

    Or some such ridiculous thing.

    Interestingly, however, (and perhaps even more ridiculously) it appears that the GCLegacists have also decided to double-down by uttering not-so veiled threats of collective punishment in the wake of the public’s rejection of the tax shift.

    Imagine that!


  2. Maya says:

    Ha, so true. Lovely analysis Ian.

  3. Dan Schubart says:

    Conversation with Mike at the local government dairy as I was restocking for the weekend (be prepared!): We like taxes (we may not know it), but we don’t like to pay more so that those who already pay too little can pay less. We also dislike dishonesty, a commodity too abundant in the current administration and particularly in any aspect of the HST. Finally, we don’t like pissing away tax money on projects like the BC Place roof or (insert your favourite boondoggle here). Once we’ve established those principles and start to hold our elected representatives to that standard, we’ll all have less to gripe about.

  4. Julie says:

    I know the HST hit me very hard. By this time of the year, I have my x-mas money saved. I have money saved for the winter utilities, here in the north. This time, I have not been able to save a dime.

    With hydro going through the roof, the hike in the carbon tax, food costs way up, gasoline price gouged, and the HST, on pretty much everything. I know I can’t stay in BC. It’s not only me, but thousands of other people, are not going to make it through the winter. It took until now, for the HST to wipe me out. The HST has caught up to many others as well.

    There are family’s, that are not making it from payday to payday. They have to use their credit cards for, car and house insurance and even groceries. The crunch is going to get them. Christy’s family’s first, are going to be in a lot of trouble.

    However, the Campbell/Clark BC Liberals, chose to support big business and not their people. Big business and the Liberals, promised good paying jobs with their, huge HST savings. They also promised, we would save a lot on money. It was all, just another BC Liberal lie and a scam.

  5. Beth says:

    Julie, (above)
    I had to post i’m in your corner, I live in the north as well and this last year has pretty much depleted a much valued savings account
    EVERYTHING sky rocketed in price, food fuel and after yesterdays gas jump of 7c its going to be even harder, there is no sky train where i live or bus for that matter
    my my cost of living has gone thro the roof.

  6. RossK says:

    Julie and Beth–

    The experiences of folks like yourselves are why I finally came around to the ‘revolt’ aspect of the anti-HST thing.

    To be honest, I was very skeptical in the beginning because I saw the original efforts of the ‘Three Amigos’ who got the ball rolling as being pure real-politick (well, at least from two of them).

    Which is not, in-and-of-itself, necessarily a bad thing.

    I just didn’t see it as being a grass-roots initiative in the beginning

    But that all changed when it became apparent that this shift from a progressive VAT tax (ie. the PST with all its carefully considered exemptions) to a regressive one (ie. the exemption-free HST) was hurting people who could least afford it while others, including people like, dare I say it, me, could barely feel the ‘shift’.

    And then, when the huge, big money-driven avalanche of B.S. arrived that tried to sell the thing as actually being good for the less well-off and that they would be, essentially, stupid if they didn’t vote to keep it…Well, that was just too much.

    So, to be very clear here….If more tax revenue is required to do things that matter (ie. build schools, not silly stadia roofs) I will be very happy to pay more by way of progressive income taxes.


    Because the reason I am able to afford to do such a thing is because I received a very good public school education, at all levels, that helped me get the good paying job I have today.

    And, of course, that education was subsidized all the way along by our progressive tax programs of the past.

    Progressive tax programs that were (mostly) instituted by previous Social Credit governments at the provincial level interestingly enough.

    And, given all that, I just think it would be immoral of me to pull up the ladder on my fellow British Columbians now that I have gotten over a bunch of financial humps with their help.



  7. BC Mary says:

    Thurs., Sept. 8:

    just heard on CBC Newsworld that B.C.’s deficit has tripled “because of rejecting the H.S.T.”

  8. Pingback: The HST SOS | The Real Story

  9. Excellent analysis Ian and nice to see Pete McMartin giving credit in today’s Vancouver Sun.

    One point on how Fight HST was outspent: When Kevin Falon announced the BC Liberal government would spend $5 million on the “stickmen” HST propaganda ads, it amounted to 20 times the $250,000 grant given to Fight HST – an equal grant of $250,000 was given to the pro-HST “Smart Tax Alliance.” So make it 21 times.

    But the Smart Tax Alliance of big businesses spent an untold amount of money more than that – untold because Premier Christy Clark neither included the usual financial disclosures used in elections and other referendums nor did she put a spending limit on the referendum advertising.

    Despite repeated attempts to force the STA to disclose their spending, they refused and will continue to do so.

    But our own sources indicate that $20 million or more may have been spent – including extremely expensive TV ads during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    That would make the spending ratio as high as 100 to 1 for the pro-HST forces. And it would mean big business spent more than both parties combined in the 2009 provincial election.

    But with $2 billion a year at stake it was just chump change.

    Thanks again and best wishes for a healthy personal recovery.

  10. Ian says:

    And Bill if you add their Voter ID and GOTV campaign featuring the guys behind Rob Ford into the mix I’d bet my hat they topped $30 million.

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