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B.C. votes 55% to axe HST

The vote is in, and British Columbians have chosen to nix the HST. "Yes" votes were 55 per cent, beating out the "No" votes to keep the HST.

The results of the binding province-wide referendum would mean that the government would have to roll back the taxes.

Advocates for the controversial harmonized sales tax said that repealing it would put a $3 billion hole in the B.C. budget if it needs to pay back the federal government the $1.6 billion that it originally received to implement the tax.

Provincial NDP leader Adrian Dix commented to the CBC that he was pleased with the result, saying that the Liberal Party had "shifted the tax burden onto B.C. families" over the past decade. Dix tweeted to his followers: 

The Yes side wins by 150,000 votes. Proud of the voters of BC and the volunteers that made it happen.72.45% Yes in Kingsway makes me smile.

Mike Jagger, co-chair of the Smart Tax Alliance, expressed his view of the results in a phone call. 

"We're definitely disappointed, it's frustrating," he said. "We knew that it was going to be close."

He said that he felt the voting process was fair, and said that despite the results he was "proud" of his campaign for the "No" side of the vote. 

"Even the Fight HST side, the only thing they said that I agreed with is that the PST is a broken system. Now that we're going back, it will be more important to come to the table with the government offer suggestions on how to address the issue."

Jagger called the GST-PST system "complicated, convoluted and contradictory" and feels that the vote results had more to do with political sentiments in the provicne.  

"The debate became political and it became about everything about tax policies. People should not be dancing in the streets thinking they will save money here. We have a big challenge to figure out how to fix B.C.'s tax policy."

For a breakdown of how each region voted, see the Elections BC website. 

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