Man vows to withhold HST on electric bill
All home heating costs should be exempt, says Bob Baird
A resident of eastern P.E.I. says he won't pay the harmonized sales tax on his electricity bill when Maritime Electric starts adding it in April.
Bob Baird of Gaspereaux believes the tax is unfair, and he's asking government to change it. The government has exempted home heating oil from the provincial portion of the HST, but the Bairds are one of 11,000 Island families who heat their homes with something other than oil. They use electricity, but because only oil is exempt from the HST, they will see their electricity costs climb by $200 this year.
Baird said the cost itself is not the issue, it's the unfairness of the tax, so he's decided not to pay it.
"We're going to start a civil disobedience approach," Baird told CBC News.
"We decided when it starts to come in, we'll deduct the nine per cent from our electric bill [the provincial portion of the HST] … We're hoping people will look at this and say they're right, either exempt all forms of heating, or tax them all."
Other provinces have exempted all forms of home heating, but Finance Minister Wes Sheridan said P.E.I. can't afford to do that, and his government didn't want to keep the tax on the heating source most Islanders use.
"We're trying to make it perfect. Is it? Nothing ever has been," said Sheridan.
"We'll re-evaluate each and every year at budget time."
Baird won't be waiting for the province's re-evaluation. He said he won't pay HST on his electric bill until either Maritime Electric cuts him off or the province changes its tax system.