VICTORIA (NEWS1130) – The BC government is bringing back all the old exemptions now that the HST is on its way out. Finance Minister Kevin Falcon has just introduced a bill to bring back the old PST and GST, effective April 1st, 2013. 

You soon won’t be paying the PST on restaurant meals, hair cuts, bicycles and kids clothing anymore. Essentially all of the old exemptions with return, though not all are included in Bill 54.

Falcon says they need to pass legislation by the end of this spring session, May 31st in order to bring in these basic exemptions.  However, more exemptions are to be outlined in the fall.  Falcon says they simply couldn’t fit them into this bill and staff say business wants to have laws in place before spending money to transition back to the PST.

Falcon also says a new online PST registration system will make it easier for businesses, especially small ones, to register and deal with the tax. The province is spending $16-million on software, which will eliminate about 100 jobs.

The Liberals were forced into making the change back from the HST to the old GST/PST model after a referendum last year.

In August 2011, just under 55 per cent of British Columbians who voted chose to kill the HST. A total of 1.6 million people cast a ballot, which is just over half of eligible voters.

Premier Christy Clark had vowed the PST/GST system would be back in place no later than March 31, 2013.

Jordan Bateman with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation tells us he’d like to see the PST reinstated before April 1st, 2013, although he’s not surprised it won’t be.

“I think the HST for a lot of us in British Columbia has been like a girlfriend we just can’t quite break up with,” he explains. “It seems to be dragging on and on. But you know, that was within the estimate that was explained to us during the referendum.

He had wanted a 10 per cent HST, but says the province is making the best of a bad situation.

Meanwhile, SFU Marketing Strategist Lindsay Meredith says the BC Liberals had no choice but to bring back the old system.

“That referendum was pretty much a loaded gun held to their head,” he stresses. “If they had not moved on it, trust me, Vander Zalm would have got traction and you would have started to see a Liberal body count. They did what they had to do.”