After weeks of public debate largely against a plan to bring the harmonized sales tax to P.E.I. a group of business people heard Wednesday night why they should support it.
The meeting, featuring a chartered accountant, a couple of economists and an Island tourism operator, was sponsored by business and industry organizations. The panel told about 50 people at the meeting costs for business would go down with HST.
"Any of the input costs they have for things that they're currently paying provincial sales tax on that they can't recover, they will be able to recover under HST," said chartered accountant Mary Best.
"Consequently, that should make their cost of doing business lower."
All four speakers, none of whom were connected to government, said the HST is good news for P.E.I.'s three big industries: farming, fishing, and tourism.
Linda Lowther, owner of Sundance Cottages, said the tax savings for businesses like hers will benefit the whole province.
"You'll get better wages, maybe reduced prices hopefully, and more jobs on P.E.I.," said Lowther.
That's the message Finance Minister Wes Sheridan has been pitching since he announced the plan in his budget last month.
The meeting was not exclusively pro-HST. A handful of people did show to express their concerns, noting the price of clothing and electricity, now exempt from provincial sales tax, will go up significantly. While business may benefit, they were worried Island consumers are going to pay a price.
The province plans to bring in the HST on April 1, 2013.