In the January 18 Prince George Citizen, the president and CEO of Initiatives Prince George wrote a glowing article supporting the implementation of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) here in British Columbia.
Tim McEwan filled one quarter of the editorial page informing the citizens of Prince George about the advantages and opportunities this federal/provincial initiative will create for business throughout the province. The HST will allow construction, mining, transportation, forestry and every other industry with representatives on boards giving advice to the government a chance to become more competitive and productive.
Mr. McEwan says that with this tax shift "...businesses will be able to invest, grow and create well-paid family-supporting jobs."
There was not one mention of the individual taxpayers onto whom this $4 billion tax shift is being heaped.
If past corporate tax incentives are any means to gauge the truthfulness of this statement I think it's important to look at them.
In 1955, the share of total federal revenue from corporate taxes was 25 per cent. By 1998, that share had dropped to 12.2 per cent. That was 12 years ago and I'm not afraid to state that this number is probably closer to eight per cent in 2010.
It seems we've had a sort of hidden HST for many years in this country and as corporate taxation decreases there is a corresponding increase in personal taxation.
What have the generous captains of industry done with this large drop in taxes? According to Mr. McEwan's theory of tax relief for business, they should have been creating well-paid family-supporting jobs. The reality of the situation is that business has pocketed most of the extra capital while writing larger dividend cheques to already wealthy people and sending those well-paid family-supporting jobs out of the country.