Tax, tax and more tax

April 07, 2017
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, (right) and Audley Shaw Minister of Finance
Peter Phillips

This increase in property tax, in the way it is being introduced, is going to hurt a whole lot of people. Others will benefit because they have the resources to handle those exorbitant increases like how I can afford bubblegum.

However, for the majority of Jamaicans, this is going to hit hard unless there is a significant shift in how this policy is introduced. Many Jamaicans have not had a decent wage increase in a decade, and the devaluation of the Jamaican dollar over that period of time has further negatively impacted their financial standing.

Against that backdrop, the 500 per cent increases in the property tax many are being asked to pay is going to be crippling, and people will lose property to the State because they are going to be unable to pay those taxes.

The hypocrisy behind this, however, has been the response of the Opposition and their supporters. Here's why?

Whenever there is a tax increase of any kind in this country, when the Opposition becomes the party in power, do they reverse those taxes? Has there been a single time in recent history where that has been the case?




It is my recollection that the opposition party, regardless of who it is, always makes noise about tax increases but their memories are short, because as soon as they get into office, they have no memory about those taxes of which they were once opposed.

And you want to know why that is?

They have no idea how to increase revenue without increasing taxes.

In more developed countries, increasing output helps generate more revenue. Finding new and innovative ways to create employment producing goods and services for export is how countries in Europe and the United States generate additional revenue. Growth. Real growth. Under those regimes, income taxes remain fairly stable because those economies are growing at a rate where those new avenues of revenue more than compensate for what is needed to have a balanced budget. Well, that and cutting unnecessary spending or finding cheaper imports.

However, in Jamaica raising taxes every year is how we fund our Budget.

So when we start cussing this 'P' or that 'P' about taxes, take a step back, look carefully and think. Remove your party-stained glasses and engage your cerebral cortex. Only then will you see that each of these political parties really have no viable solutions. They are bankrupt of ideas on how to generate growth, and that is why they are making you and I broke.

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