A new coalition of British Columbia business leaders and retail groups is speaking out in favour of the planned harmonized sales tax, saying it will create jobs, and boost wages and the economy.

The 12 per cent combined GST and PST kicks in July 2010, and has garnered opposition from, among others, the restaurant industry, some small business owners and the NDP.

The B.C. Real Estate Association, which opposes the HST, has even launched a new section of its website to let the public voice concerns over the tax.

But members from around 20 local groups, including the B.C. Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Council of Canada, held a press conference in Vancouver yesterday to show support for the new tax.

Jock Finlayson, with the Business Council of B.C., said the HST will give businesses incentive to modernize their operations, adding that more than 30,000 organizations support the HST.