The battle for and against the Harmonized Sales Tax intensified yesterday as a group of business associations filed a legal challenge against the anti-HST petition.

Former premier Bill Vander Zalm will deliver the 700,000-signatory petition in Victoria today, a day before the 12 per cent HST takes effect.

The new tax, which combines provincial sales tax and the goods and services tax, means consumers will spend seven per cent more on certain items (like bicycles and haircuts).

It will cost families an additional $500 a year, according to an estimate by Statistics Canada.

The group headed by forestry and mining industries and the B.C. Chamber of Commerce filed for a judicial review of the draft act to extinguish the tax and the decision to allow the petition in the first place.

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