I strongly disagree that the HST helps to grow all small businesses. I am a Registered Massage Therapist.
We have always had to charge five per cent GST to patients, but with the inception of HST, we had to add another seven per cent to our treatment costs. What this means is the one-hour massage has $10 of tax in its price. For many patients, this increase has become too much and they have cut back on how often they can receive treatments, if at all.
Many of my patients are in chronic pain and massage is their only effective way of pain relief. Many need to have a treatment on a weekly basis.
What the HST has meant to them is that they have to pay an additional $305.76 annually.
Registered Massage Therapy is just one of the things consumers are paying more for, now that we have HST. By the way, overall, consumers are paying more taxes on 20 per cent of items that they just used to have to pay GST on.
That adds up to a lot of money, and the rebate cheques do not cover it entirely, and only a small amount of people even receive those cheques.
Along with losing patients who cannot afford the extra amount in taxes that the HST has imposed, I have also had to do a self-inflicted wage freeze on my own income. There is not a chance that I can increase my prices so I can benefit and put more in my pocket. The market will not stand for it.
Unfortunately, the government’s pockets are deeper than mine and they need to be filled first. I will be voting “yes” to extinguish the HST. The tax on Registered Massage Therapy will go back to only five per cent, and my patients can return and get the health care they need and deserve.
Julie Redlin, Aldergrove