With many British Columbians impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, one political party believes the solution is to cut the provincial sales tax.
The BC Liberal campaign is pledging to get rid of the 7-per cent PST on most items for a year.
The party says it would bring back the tax the next year at a lower 3-per cent rate and keep it there until the economy recovers from the pandemic.
The proposal is garnering mixed reaction from Vernon businesses and voters.
While some voters would welcome paying less tax, others are concerned about the financial hit to the government’s coffers in the midst of a pandemic.
The Liberal Party said eliminating the PST for a year would cost the government more than $6.8 billion and save a family of four earning $60,000 around $1,714.
Vernon small business owner Rhonda Boyce is among those who would like to see the PST cut.
Read more: Kelowna voters react to BC election call
She says the pandemic hit her photography and framing business hard and eliminating the PST for a year would help small businesses catch up.
“We had to shut the doors for three weeks and then coming back it was very slow to start up. I still have to pay that PST every month and everything else,” Boyce said.
But the idea of slashing the PST is not winning over all small business owners.
Charlene Deuling, who owns a used bookstore on Vernon’s main street, opposes the proposal to eliminate the PST for a year.
She’d rather see the government use the money to bolster existing programs.
“It is going to cause a lot of paperwork and a lot of headache for a lot of people,” Deuling said.
At a jewelry store down the street, the owner likes the idea of paying less PST as it would help him compete with competitors in Alberta.
However, Fareed Lor, owner of Gold’n Time Jewellery, is not in favour of repeatedly changing the tax rate.
“It has to be long term. If it is short term it is going to create more confusion than anything and when we bring it back it’s going to make people upset because one year will go by very fast,” Lor said.