Referendum deadline today

Last chance to vote on Harmonized Sales Tax

If things work out the way they’d like, a group of local residents will soon see a drop in the price of their daily cup of coffee.

Ever since the HST came into effect last July, the group has been paying more for their cups of java and muffins — which a year later still doesn’t sit right with them.

“The thing with the HST is they tax everything … and that’s the bad thing. A lot of things were exempt under the other system,” said Bob Nikken.

Nikken is part of a group of about 10 which meets at 10 a.m. every morning at Trail Coffee Co., where they start off their day discussing everything from local events to international affairs and share a few laughs.

They’re pleased that the government has offered a referendum on the tax, but are in complete agreement that the ballot question was confusing.

“It was tricky, it was almost like in reverse,” commented Carmen Angerelli.

“You had to vote ‘yes’ to really vote ‘no,’” added Nikken. “And then they put everything in three envelopes.”

Every single person at the two tables had already mailed in their ballots, most of them sent off within the first week of receiving the package.

Rose Calderon said at first the HST had a significant impact on their daily lives, but as time went on, they’ve just gotten used to it.

“People don’t like it, but they’re getting used to it — they don’t want it, and if the referendum says we get rid of it, hallelujah it’d be great.”

It’s their belief people will actually get involved in the voting process this time around.

Rick Georgetti said he felt votes from this area would be high, but said overall he figured about 45 to 50 per cent of the general population would actually take the time to mail in their ballots and have them received on time.

Some believe it will be a close call, while others feel a landslide will vote the HST out.

But even if the HST remains, it won’t be reduced to 10 per cent tomorrow, pointed out Angerelli. That would be phased in over two years. They hope the government will keep their promise to lower the HST if it remains, but are skeptical in the truthfulness of politicians’ words.

The deadline for HST voting ballots to be received by Elections BC is today at 4:30 p.m. Ballots can be delivered to a Service BC Centre or an Elections BC Collection Centre as well.