One per cent drop in consumer prices in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland

VANCOUVER – While many people and businesses in B.C. continue to protest the provincial government’s plan to implement the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), one economic study group in Atlantic Canada says the HST may not be the economy killer many think it is.

The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies–an Atlantic think-tank–says when the HST was introduced in three east coast provinces 10 years ago, consumers actually saw prices come down.  Bobby O’Keefe with the Atlantic Institute says many of the same concerns being raised in B.C. about the HST were brought up in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland but in the long run, consumers there benefited.  “Even when you factored in that jump in housing prices, prices overall dropped about a percent a year compared to places that did not harmonize their sales tax.”

O’Keefe says one thing that was different back east was that restaurants already charged provincial sales tax, so they didn’t have the expected impact west coast eateries might have.  A new Angus Reid poll shows the HST is one of the issues that have reduced the popularity of the provincial Liberals by 12 per cent, a historic drop.