HALIFAX, N.S.- The president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies believes now is the time for the Alward government to hold a referendum on raising the HST, if its’ planning to raise the tax.

Charles Cirtwill believes the province has already done a lot of the hard work to get ready for a tax hike, by wringing inefficiencies out of the public service.

He says with low interest rates, borrowing money is cheap for the province but something needs to be done for when interest rates go up, which will happen. “You wait two years to make this decision and it’s not going to be one hospital that closes it’s going to be ten”, says Cirtwill. ” That’s the choice that is facing New Brunswick today. It’s either do it now when you mitigate the pain or do it later when you’re talking about real disruption”.

Talk of a HST hike picked up pace after Finance Minister Blaine Higgs announced last week that he would not be able to balance the province’s books by 2014.