At some point we have to pay for society and it's basic functions of government, healthcare, education and infrastructure (among other things).I would be totally okay with a sales tax. I know it's a dirty word in Alberta, but it's a straight forward tax, and generally a fair one. Those with more money to spend generally contribute more.
Probably just easiest to copy the GST exemption list. Making our own list would be a nightmare. BC partially got pissed at the HST because their old PST exempted of all things restaurant meals, so the restaurants all put a petition to force a repeal in their restaurants. The anti-tax forces also just kept repeating that because of the new tax, everyone was all of a sudden going to tip less. So servers/hosts promoted signing the petition even!Just let me buy my Bronco first and then I am on board as well
Institute it as a consumption tax on non essential items.
The exemption list changed a bit with the HST in Ontario - the HST didn't exempt bicycles, and very small restaurant meals (think a coffee and a donut from tim hortons) unlike the PST. Also, the old PST in Ontario had a different higher rate for liquor consumed in restaurants, and how the government went about keeping this revenue while having a lower sales tax rate was endlessly complicated. Also, the PST hadn't applied to things like financial services, lawyers, and the like, while the HST did. Groups that thought the tax would decrease demand were pissed for a while until it turned out to not matter (I don't remember any follow up stories 6 months later with sobbing small businesses). The government made concurrent changes to business taxes to offset some of the shift.I can't remember the specifics of the HST in Ontario, but I do recall that many people perceived it as a new tax. The anti-tax fervor of the time is potentially what explains Rob Ford's victory in the 2010 mayoral election, even though the HST has nothing to do with municipal politics. I heard directly from people who told me that they were voting Ford in order to repeal the HST.