Jay Hill, MP

Happy New Year indeed! Canadian taxpayers had an abundance of reasons to celebrate on January 1st, beginning with the second reduction in the GST (Goods and Services Tax).

On New Year?s Eve, Prime Minister Stephen Harper returned to the very store in which he stood two years ago to promise Canadians that a Conservative government would cut the GST from seven to six to five percent. On January 1, 2008, we kept that promise!

The two percent GST cut will save the average working family hundreds of dollars per year on day-to-day purchases, not to mention hundreds or even thousands more on major purchases such as a new car or a new home.

Make no mistake, this permanent tax cut is the only type that will benefit ALL Canadians regardless of age or income ? including those whose incomes are too low to pay income tax.

Don?t be misled by opposition claims that the GST cut has been accomplished at the expense of broad-based income tax cuts. We?ve already done that. Since coming to office, the Conservative Government has cut sales, income and business taxes to reduce the overall tax burden for Canadians and businesses by close to $200-billion, bringing taxes to their lowest levels in nearly 50 years.

Sharp reductions in the tax bills of individuals and families have been achieved through a cut in the lowest personal income tax rate; yearly increases in the basic personal amount (the amount an individual can earn without paying federal income tax); and, a broad range of new and enhanced tax credits.

As I?ve noted before, when you file your 2007 income tax return in the coming weeks, you will very much notice the income tax rate reduction and the personal amount increase which are RETROACTIVE to one year ago, January 1, 2007.

Among other tax credits, parents will find relief in the $2,000 child tax credit. This measure alone will remove 180,000 taxpayers from the tax rolls altogether. And our Working Income Tax Benefit will help more than 1.2 million low-income Canadians.

For everyday household purchases that are subject to sales taxes ?the purchases that each and every Canadian must make ? they will pay two percent less in tax at the cash register than they did two years ago. The total savings for consumers will be almost $12-BILLION next year. Reducing the GST will ensure Canada?s long-term growth and prosperity by leaving more money in the pockets of Canadians and invigorating our economy.

Yet in a bizarre and pointless demonstration of ?opposition for the sake of opposition?, the Liberal Party of Canada and its leader, St├ęphane Dion, say they?ll reverse our GST cuts and hike it back up if ever given the chance to govern again. Mr. Dion has personally said he believes cutting the GST is a ?serious mistake? and that he will consider raising it.

Paying less taxes, including those on almost everything we buy, is NOT a mistake. It is reason to celebrate in 2008. Happy New Year!