Finance Minister Graham Steele stands by the government’s decision to hike up the HST by two percentage points, despite Darrell Dexter’s election pledge to not increase taxes.

The hike goes into effect tomorrow.

“We looked at all the options, and we concluded ... that restoring the HST to 15 per cent was necessary if not otherwise desirable,” Steele said. “If (the opposition parties are) opposed to the HST increase, I’m still waiting to hear from the other two parties what they’re alternative is.”

Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil disagreed, saying his party has brought several recommendations to the government’s attention.

“What we would have done is not spent $80 million on land, what we would have done is not pre-paid universities ... or set aside $54 million for government restructuring,” said McNeil.

“(The) fact of the matter is, we as an economy are no longer competitive. We’re losing jobs to our closest neighbour, we are losing them to the rest of Canada, and as of July 1 (the NDP will) increase that problem.”

Starting July 1

Don’t put off today what you’ll pay more for tomorrow.

Here’s a breakdown of some common purchases before and after the HST increase:

$20,000 car — Today: $22,600
Tomorrow: $23,000

$2,500 TV — Today: $2,825
Tomorrow: $2,875

Night out

$80 Dinner for Two — Today: $90.40
Tomorrow: $92

Hot java

$2 Coffee — Today: $2.26
Tomorrow: $2.30

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