Dear Editor:

As co-owner of a small business in the Columbia Valley, we have realized declines in revenue over the past couple of years, but unlike some in the restaurant industry, I do not blame the HST.

Our revenues from visitors are down slightly, but the greatest impact has been the reduction in local spending the 2009 recession has affected the income of our locals and therefore discretionary spending is down. Occasionally our visitors complain about tax, but regardless of where you live in the world, people will complain about tax. It is normal.

My initial reaction to the HST was negative; however, I did not have a complete understanding of the tax and how it works. It occurred to me that the many people with expertise in this area of economics might be right when they say that a harmonized tax is good for this province. So I made the effort to educate myself and as a result, I now understand that in the big picture this is a good tax (as good as any tax can be). I agree that there are issues with the HST that need to be addressed, but, overall, there are more positives than negatives. I will be voting NO to support the retention of the HST.

The people who are telling us to vote YES infer that the HST will be scrapped, the clocks will be turned back and we will be taxed as we were in June, 2010. I believe well just have two taxes but everything that is taxed today will still have to be taxed; we cant afford the exemptions on certain items like we had in June, 2010.

The province will have to recover the cost of converting back to a two-tax system and repaying the 1.6 billion to the federal government. I dont believe that we can afford to revert to GST/PST. If we go backwards we will experience more economic woes, and while B.C. attempts to recover, other jurisdictions in Canada will reap the economic benefits.

As a small business owner and someone who cares about the economic wellbeing of our community I will work in any way that I can to fix the problem areas of the HST. We need to move forward not backward. Vote NO to keep the HST, it is good for our economy.

Susan Smith

Co-owner, Smoking Water Coffee Company

Fairmont Hot Springs