‘We Consider 35% Duty To Be Punitive’

October 1, 2011

Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards said that the OBA welcomes temporary payroll tax relief for Bermuda’s retailers, however said “we consider 35% duty to be punitive and coercive and oppose it. We do not want to penalize everyday people for trying to find better value with their hard-earned dollars.”

Mr Richards also questioned whether “the government has the legal authority for this action without bringing it before Parliament. The standard practice for payroll tax and duty matters is to bring it before Parliament first.”

Yesterday [Sept.30] Premier Paula Cox announced that payroll tax will be set at zero for the retail sector, while duty payable at the airport for returning residents will jump to 35% [from 25%] and only one person per household can claim the duty free allowance.

The Premier said, “The measures related to residents returning from overseas business and vacation trips are to help steer expenditure into the local retail sector. These measures are aimed at helping to boost sales and keep approximately 4,000 Bermudians employed in local stores.”

The Premier continued on to say that, “By restricting the duty free allowance to only one person per family as opposed to two or more, and increasing the duty rate from 25 percent to 35 percent, this will discourage personal spending abroad.”

The public was given less than 24 hours notice, with the changes taking effect today [Oct.1], and due to end in six months. The announcement spurred over 200 comments on the article in 12 hours, with the majority not in favour of the new policies.

Mr Richards said, “The One Bermuda Alliance welcomes temporary payroll tax relief for Bermuda’s retailers, but today’s announcement falls far short of what is needed to restore life to the industry.”

“It has been clear to even the most casual observer that the retail sector has been in desperate straits for years, recording an astounding 38 consecutive months of sales declines.”

“The Government has had years to come forward with a comprehensive plan to help retailers, and the thousands they employ, but done nothing.”

“Now, in the wake of yesterday’s shocking job loss announcements, the Premier comes forward with temporary tax relief. This move has all the hallmarks of panic.”

“Temporary tax relief is not enough, tantamount to putting a band aid on an open, bleeding wound. Retailers deserve more.”

“The OBA would allow retailers to pay the import duty due once the goods are sold. The problem of retailers paying upfront duty and then having to wait sometimes many months to recoup that duty from sales has been a loud complaint for many years. This reform would significantly improve their cash flow positions.”

“The OBA takes issue with the Premier’s 40% tax increase on goods declared by residents returning from overseas. We would roll it back to 25%. We consider 35% duty to be punitive and coercive and oppose it. We do not want to penalize everyday people for trying to find better value with their hard-earned dollars.”

“If Government was serious about restricting competitive pressures on retailers, it would have also addressed the online shopping, which has become a significant challenge to local retailers. The best way to help retail is to fix the economy.”

“The fundamental trouble facing retail is fewer tourists and fewer international business people on the island, meaning fewer people shopping in stores. Much of the shortage in the latter group, international business people and their families is a direct consequence of the bad immigration policies, unwelcoming attitudes and unpredictable tax policies of this government. As for fewer tourists, retail has been the primary victim of unwillingness by government to directly tackle our lack of competitiveness in tourism.”

“Finally, there is a question whether the government has the legal authority for this action without bringing it before Parliament. The standard practice for payroll tax and duty matters is to bring it before Parliament first.”

“Today’s announcement reflects a government floundering. It has no plan, no direction and no meaningful answers, other than to say that all these woes have been caused by the evil outside world.”

“Bermuda deserves better,” concluded Mr Richards.

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  1. Tired of Party Politics says:

    Bob Richards…. Shocker! The OBA disagrees with the PLP!

    But he has no solution except for… Wait for it, “get rid of term limits”

    Bob whose side are you on? What happened to putting Bermuda first.

    I consider it revolting that you don’t support Buying Bermuda!

    This reflexive response is typical Party Politics. No wonder we’re in this mess.

    • Warrior 1 says:

      It’s time for Bermudians to stop pussyfooting around …PLP u were given a chance …you just couldn’t handle the job at hand ok face it also its voters wake up!!!…Ya’ll have to put ALL of your predujices aside to prevent Bda, from going completely down the drain with your kids future…..think and think hard ..
      The PLP needs to let OBA run things and then they{plp}can keep them on thier toes as that is what they excell at…PLP is good at fighting for the people only when they Ocupy the Opposition…who wants to get on a plane or ship when the Capt. dont know how to do his job..?? A Defender is a Defender coz he aint no Striker..do u get it now hmmm?

    • The Truth says:

      He also suggested that the OBA would favor collecting duty at the point of sale, not at the point of importation. I believe that’s a solution.

      Personally I think duty on commercial goods should be axed in favor of a sales tax. This ‘should’ allow the retailer to bring the goods in cheaper. The reality is, business overhead in Bermuda is simply too expensive to be really viable. I don’t know what the retailers are doing as far as paying staff. A week ago, I walked through Gibbon’s men’s department and there were literally more staff than customers!!

    • Family Man says:

      Like the Pee el Pee’s ‘buy Bermuda’ support of foreign consultants, foreign sculptors, foreign suppliers for everything from printing to advertising.

    • Oh please says:

      Oh please, the majority disagrees with the PLP! I am quite sure Bob is all for Bermuda but like many of us, is against punishing the entire population by broadbrushed policies. The PLP is excellent at providing temporary band-aids to fix the mess that, for the most part, they started/contributed greatly towards.
      Getting rid of term limits would do a lot for the economy, such as keeping well educated Bermudians in very good jobs. Jobs that elsewhere, they probably wouldn’t get a look-in because there is so much more competition. Just think about how many businesses/Bermudians lose their jobs as a result of an expat losing their work permit, thus forcing his/her family back to their home country… the shcools, the grocery stores, the nanny/babysitter, the gym, the golf course, the cleaner, the gardener, the pool cleaner, the spa, the coffee shops, the restaurants, the gas stations, public transport, the music school, the list goes on. So, how about you take your blinders off for a second and try to comprehend the situation.

      • I guess we're slaves 4ever says:

        Are you talking about black people?

        • Rick Rock says:

          What a ridiculous question. He (or she) was referring to every Bermudian in those jobs, black and white.

    • Rick Rock says:

      “Tired of Party Politics”, you are an absolute moron. Nowhere in his statement does Bob Richards say “get rid of term limits”. He does though state clearly what the OBA will do when they are elected.

      Then you say “no wonder we’re in this mess”. What, we’re in a mess because someone disagrees with what Cox did yesterday? Or are we actually in a mess because this PLP govt is a bunch of idiots?

      When you’ve finished replying to this, can go over to the other article today and explain to all of us why we have to pay for the doorman and his entourage to have a “conversational breakfast” and a “cocktail party” in the UK, while the rest of us are paying higher taxes and losing our jobs?

    • Respect due says:

      So Tired of the OBA, Premier call an election so they can crawl from whence they came. They complaint about EVERYTHING. They are the ones that don’t buy Bermuda that is why they are so upset.

    • Pastor Syl says:

      Clearly, Tired of Party Politics, you didn’t read the article. So anxious to put somebody else down, you make yourself look less than.

      Mr. Richards suggested that instead of penalizing Bermudians who go abroad to shop, and, by the way, NOT penalizing those who shop on-line, Premier Cox would help local businesses better by delaying import tax until goods are sold, similar to Britain’s VAT I guess, rather than when goods are landed. This makes sense to me, as the present system forces businesses to expend capital at the front end and then wait to recoup that money until the goods are purchase-which may or may not happen.

  2. Face it says:

    This is nothing more than a tax grab by a different name and demonstrates the PLP’s desperation. [If you ever wondered why this government won't release their accounts look no further than this ...]

  3. Hahaha says:

    Looks like the OBA don’t have a clue neither, PLP 4 life!!!!!!!!

    • What says:

      So you admit the PLP don’t have a clue, but then say PLP 4 life. Brainwashed or what!

    • The Truth says:

      I always find this kind of mentality interesting.

    • sandgrownan says:

      That’s pretty stupid.

    • Hudson says:

      Wow Hahaha- your ignorance is astounding. You can’t fix stupid can you.

  4. JB says:

    Isn’t our free right as citizens to spend our money where we chose, whether that be Bermuda or Overseas. Until the prices, quality and selection improve people will not buy Bermuda. Customer service is lacking. There is no way you can stop all people from buying abroad. People will just claim less, and hope they don’t get caught. You can’t search everyone.

    • Wicky Choopa says:

      Well according some, its Government’s fault why people not buying bermuda

  5. Free Thinker says:

    This is just another knee-jerk reaction that will not realize get the intended results.
    People will just ship more of their purchase now. I do not travel to shop, I travel for vacation but would use the opportunity to shop. At 25% I would ship any clothing purchase above $300 but at 35% I will not do minor shopping, I will just shop less frequent and ship it all at once.

    In any event my spending pastern, as it relates to shopping locally will not change. I will only shop local after it is determined by me, that I am getting value for money. I still will not enter those establishments that have rude sales staff. I routinely switch Cell phone carriers and ISP’s that have rude phone reps.

    The Premiere is missing the point, most of us who don’t shop locally, is due in part to the poor quality of service, combined with the sometimes high cost. If the Perice is good and the service is bad, I still will not shop in that store. It’s as simple as that, the lack of variety doesn’t help either.

    • The Truth says:

      Well said. Where I find good value, service, and attitude I will gladly support. Where I don’t….. I won’t support. Not that complicated. It’s also a matter of some things simply being unavailable in Bermuda or in very limited selection. Above all else, people do not want to be dictated to as far as how they spend their consumer dollar, so I feel this will backfire.

      • Well I Never says:

        It is often said that a Plan Failed when in reality there was no plan. PLP you just sealed your fate.

    • Out the Box BDA says:

      Question…. How can the PLP government are blamed for the decline in the Global economy… Citi Group was at the center of the economic meltdown in the US’s finical markets… So how can one accept a company with a horrendous track record as Citi group be counted as a good corporate citizen. Furthermore they gave the reason for leaving Bermuda as the high cost of doing business???!!! Please do tell who owns the building they were located in…. I bet you the PLP doesn’t own it or one of their so called cronies….Let’s get straight to the point here with this conversation shall we……the problem with Bermuda is yes, we are all used to behaving like spoiled little brats throughout every sector of our society…just take a look at these comments…people are constantly pointing the finger at other people for issues that every single man and woman has the ability to change…but we think that is the role of the government….. Yes there are people that are rude in the service industry…. But please let me know what that has to do with the Government???!!!! It is not the role of any government to direct people in which manner or place to spend their money….if every person on this site Truly LOVED BERMUDA, they would simply share the burden of shopping locally to ensure more of our foreign reserved currency (US) stays in Bermuda Banks…..Now on to the OBA…Mr. Richards I do appreciate your attempt of trying to portray yourself as a man who speaks for the people…But I must confess, anyone that is politically astute will remember when the UBP was in power, you done absolutely nothing…the UBP left a severely weakened infrastructure (look into the reports on the state of our public schools in the mid 90’s) that the current government had to fix thus leading to numerous capital projects…..When will you Mr. Richards speak to AND ABOUT the ruling families that have made fortunes off of the Bermuda economy for decades …and who are quietly sitting back and refusing to invest much needed monies into the Bermuda Economy via new private business enterprise… how much can this current government do to stimulate the economy when there is a limited amount of taxes that can be raised due to our tiny size and limited economy… Yes I am calling out the Gibbons Family and crew who by the way have more say in our local economy than our current government…take a look at how much business and buildings they own in Hamilton alone…and you wonder who has the most power to drop prices across the board to make Bermuda a more competitive jurisdiction to international companies…..Oh and Yes Mr. Richards and company I do realize who is the financial benefactor to Mr. Richards personal business (Gibbons)…Yes we are all not blinded by race in BDA ….but neither are we all stupid!! And for the record I not a fan of either party but I am successful businessman who loves his country….. I do not support people who do not come with the right intentions…..

  6. SML says:

    Thank you Mr. Richards! OBA has my vote.

    • NO WAY OBA says:

      They can’t get mine. No direction just upstart rhetoric, with the same old UBP coat of arms.

  7. Organic Bermudian says:

    I agree with Mr. Richards! Why the RUSH to this SOLUTION? Have the GOVERNMENT considered the retailers greed over the years is what has cost EVERYDAY BERMUDIANS to shop OVERSEAS?? Will the GOVERNMENT monitor retailers DURING this period for price GOUGING??? I will pay the extra DUTY because it is MY hard earned DOLLAR that I an trying to STRETCH!! I WILL NOT BUY BERMUDA untill RETAILERS STOP EXPLOITING US and the GOVERNMENT TOO!!!

  8. Wicky Choopa says:

    Funny I remember when Craig Cannonier was part of the BDA he stated that Govt should raise duty tax to help retailers” I would like to see what Craig has to say about this. Besided these are incentives for people to stay here and shop. Lets see if Gibbons lower prices due to an exemption from payroll tax.

    Besides in these tough economic times, if you have the economic means to go overseas and shop whats the issue??

    • I gotta be me says:

      I agree! This is a tax on the rich (ie. people who can afford to go away and shop anyway) and if they wish to purchase abroad then why not 35% tax? No skin off my nose nor any average Bdian. The reason I shop overseas is a) if I’m already going away for some other purpose b) the service abroad is a galaxy away from how we are treated in Bda stores c) the large selection. You pay the local sales tax and THEN you pay Bda duty so the real $$ savings is minimal. Come on people, we have to get out of this PLP debt mess somehow and 35% airport duty does not seem unreasonable. And I’m an OBA supporter. Bob, are you listening?

      • Rick Rock says:

        This is a tax on “rich” people? By “rich”, you mean someone who can afford a $350 airline ticket once in a while?

        Don’t worry, Cox and Wilson are making there aren’t any “rich” people here any more.

    • LMAO says:

      don’t hold your breathe for Cannonier to go against the grain. He’s now a front street follower. I remember him saying the government should raise duty and Fahy sanctioned it as well. Lets see what they will say now?

  9. Flikel says:

    I am very concerned about the future. The PLP really do not know how to stem the job losses nor do they really know how to stimulate tourism.

    Also, Bermuda is at the mercy of world events as well and these are difficult times. Our main trading partner, the USA, is suffering with unemployment and economic turmoil. Countries in Europe are on on the verge of bankruptcy and in need on bailout.

    The OBA has no plan either. What is their plan for stimulating tourism? In detailed terms, what would you do?

    As for international business, they seem to be clinging onto the issue of term limits. They seem to believe removing term limits would solve all our problems and this simply is not true. The removal of term limits will not result in an influx of new businesses to the island. The whole world is suffering, with the exception for the emerging markets. I think the narrow minded focus on term limits highlights the OBA’s lack of lack of plan and simplistic thinking.

    Tell me OBA, how would you have prevented Citi from relocating those 100 jobs? Term limits were not the issue, rather it was more cost effective to relocate.

    • Franklin says:

      After the class of 2005, there was likely never going to be another influx of IB jobs to Bermuda… term limits or not. However, lack of term limits and a less “f@ck you forner” attitude would have kept a lot of those jobs here.

      In addition, nobody (Citi in this case) is going to explicitly say things like “we left because of term limits”. I just makes no business sense… negativity is always bad. You don’t tell your new girl you’re with her because she happens to NOT have undesirable traits x,y, and z that your ex had. You’re not going to let it get out to your new domicile that you’re only there because they suck less than your old one, you’re going to make it positive!

  10. Jus' Askin' says:

    Not appreciating what the Premier has done only means ‘YOU DO NOT PUT BERMUDA FIRST’. The selfish and self serving people would complain about this. She has stepped out of her comfort zone and has put forward a very good plan. To sit there and disagree with this, means you really don’t care about Bermuda and it’s people. Those ‘not in favour’ do not own a retail business, obviously ;-)

    • not surprised says:

      gimme a break! you need to get your head out of the clouds and maybe if your so adamant about us not supporting bermuda that put a few good points to back that statement…..i’m willing to bet you cant.

    • next? says:

      Pathetic response. And I CAN tell it’s you Specialgirl under a different handle.
      Change the record will ya.

    • What says:

      Just to let you know…this is not a plan. It is a cheap tactic to try and win votes, from an industry that has been completely ignored by the PLP. It is also a diversion so that the Wedco low cost housing guarantee could be put through sneakily. Wake up and smell reality. The PLP knew that the focus and reaction would be onthe tax. Wedco is losing money…….I wonder who is on the board there….take a look at the names.

    • The Truth says:

      Nonsense. I will support local business where service, value, and price is good. And this will have little impact on the retailers fortunes, however the PLP have just given themselves a tax raise from 25 to 35% duty. This is more about raising revenue for Government, then helping retail. How will 6 months of payroll exemptions make up for 39 months of declining retail sales?

    • sandgrownan says:

      A plan? hahahhaha.

  11. Free Thinker says:

    Mr. Bob Richards since this is all about votes and I do believe that’s what this is all about. I am still waiting on the OBA to come up with some proactive recommendations, instead of just reacting to everything that is done by the Government. My four votes are not automatic and yes, I have four votes. I provide the political leadership in my family and they trust my judgment because they know how analytical I am. I will not give the OBA my votes just because the PLP has not been doing a good job in some areas. I need to know specifically what you will be doing different, specifics please, not rhetoric.

    Don’t go the way of the “Tea Party” in America. You already have your base, a big monolithic block which will always vote for you regardless of your name and that’s fine by me. Just don’t constantly preach to them and then expect my votes. You need to appeal to the interdependent minds, those of us who will not give any party an automatic vote. I know that all you have to do to get some people’s vote is be be against the PLP but that’s not enough for us thinking folks. All decision made by us are thoroughly thought out, so when we come to a conclusion, it’s an informed one, not an emotional one.

    I am already not a fan of Party Politics, so our votes,(speaking about the people in my household), are usually based on the better of two evils. The PLP is in a position were they may not get our votes but in order for the OBA to get our votes, I need to know clearly, what are their plans for the education system.

    They wont get my votes just because the PLP has failed us in that area and the OBA come out and say the obvious. That’s not enough for us, we need to hear what the OBA will do, so if they don’t deliver, we can hold them accountable.

    I am a strong believer in that, there should be a system of recall for those bench warmers in the House. Just saying you will have a system of recall is not enough to get our votes. I need to know mechanics of such a system, as proposed by them. As they say, “the devil is in the detail” There is no point in having a system that is ineffective because it was not drawn up properly or it was done intentionally to fail. I just need to know.

    I do believe that the PLP have spent in a wasteful manner, however fiscal responsibility should not come at the expense of helping our most needy to become empowered, in an attempt to maintain some superficial surplus. I also believe that we need good programs in place that will empower the week by giving them the tools which they require to uplift themselves. There is no point telling someone you need to get out of the hole when you at least didn’t give them a ladder. By giving them a ladder, they can begin to use their own energy, to get out of the hole.

    It is easy for the people on top of the mountain to say, why are you in the hole, get out! no one is stopping you from getting out. The problem is, some were born in the hole and some may have dropped in the hole either way, without a ladder, they stand no chance of getting out. By contrast, the ones on top of the mountain, some were born there, some were born on the plains and got help so they could climb to the top. Either way, they had some help getting up there.

    So now OBA to get our votes, you will have to tell me specifically how you plan to assist those of us that finds themselves in the hole, regardless of how they got there. Because if they stay there, we all will all pay a great deal more, when the stink starts to permeate from the hole.

    I could go on and on but I can tell you one thing and this is to the PLP and the OBA, any of you that come canvasing at my door, will be in for some drilling. So make sure you have the time, or don’t even bother to come. My votes are not automatic!

    • Tired of Party Politics says:

      Well said, the fact that the OBA comes out and says we’ll roll back the duty to 25% while Craig Cannonier a few months ago was singing a different tune proves this is just about a naked attempt to try and win votes.

      Nothing offered at all.

      • Rick Rock says:

        Actually, you’re making that up out of thin air. Show us all whether ou’re right. Post a link to a news source that says Craig Cannonier said a few months ago that the 25% import duty at the airport should be raised.

        If you can’t post a link, we all know what you are.

        • Wicky Chooper says:

          Craig Cannonier made that comment on channel 9 news this summer I believe it was around June or July. I remember that comment vividly because I totally disagreed with that idea and had a debate about it. Mind you, he flaunted it as an idea to help the retail sector, he never stated it was a policy he would do.

          the poster is not making it up.

    • What says:

      Wow, you make your family vote your way…so much for free thinking.

      • Ross says:

        Wow..why is that any of your business?

        • What says:

          Ermmm…it wasn’t untl free thinker decided to share his business.

      • sandgrownan says:

        Exactly – sounds very controlling to me…or are they just not as smart?

        • Ross says:

          : ) …..What are you people going to do when you loose the election?

          Okay, okay, I know that you see any OBA failure to be the death knell for the island, but what are you going to do?

          • sandgrownan says:

            I think you meant lose, but I can forgive an innocent typo. I don’t know. My exit plan is well advanced, I think another PLP administration would be the nail in the coffin, the evidence is plain to see they lack the intellect to govern. You know, I could even handle the corruption if they gave us sound fiscal policy. But they don’t.

            I hope the swing voters do the right thing, but I suspect the frothing idiotic masses will vote these utter f*ckwits back in to power.

            You know, back in 1998 several said this would happen, but we didn’t know how they would destroy Bermuda or how long it would take. 13 years in the end.

            • Ross says:

              Great to hear that your plan is not loosely stitched and when the OBA’s lose you will not..happy trails…

              • sandgrownan says:

                Sad isn’t it. Being forced away from ones home by these twats.

            • Hmmmmm says:

              “You know, I could even handle the corruption if they gave us sound fiscal policy.” TRANSLATION: OBA Platform. i.e the good old days. when the UBP fckd us and we were glad for it because the kitty was full. Nothing for us but the kitty was full. Reading every word……

              • sandgrownan says:

                Jesus Christ, you’re beyond dumb. Your cognitive skills are lacking.

        • Free Thinker says:

          Some of us are smart enough to follow reasoning and some are dumb enough to follow emotions. Either way, we all fall into one of the two categories, the thing is, were do you fit. That’s not for you to answer, your action will do the talking.

  12. George Michaelson III says:

    Bob is once again the only person who makes any sense on the economy. Why doesn’t government put forward a comprehensive plan to help retail? Why not let them pay duty once the item is sold? This would be a huge benefit in reducing their working capital and the cost of unsalable merchandise. Currently you pay duty whether something is sold or not (think fresh produce or trendy fashion). Thus retailers are reluctant to bring in things they aren’t sure will sell. If duty were assessed at sale, as some percentage of the selling price, we may get more variety. So simple, but why is Bob the only one who gets it?

  13. Shaking the Head says:

    AS usual there has to be more to this tax change. It was announced on a day following 146 odd jobs losses, but these losses were 100 in an exempt company and 46 at Willowbank, and neither are retail establishments. So which large retail establishment(s) triggered this knee jerk emergency change? Unlikely to be Gibbons or Coopers so who?

  14. Ronshana says:

    What many of you seem to be missing, is that the duty tax is being raised only for returning Bermudians at the airport…no change for online shopping, where most of the overseas shopping is done….good move..LOL

  15. Obvious question says:

    What retailer is on the brink and is due to slash staff (or go completely out of business)? Is government really foolish enough to believe that this will save them? Enquiring minds want to know.

  16. Fed Up says:

    What is wrong with government??? If you arent a politician dont expect to have any backing from the government or the IDIOTS that run this country. Nobody in power ever has genuine concern for Bermuda’s PEOPLE! If it werent for us, you wouldnt be in power so stop throwing those same people you owe your extravagant lifestyle to under the bus by pushing everyone to despise this island (simply because of who runs it)! If it werent for these stupid decisions like raising duty 10% with only a few days notice (and the many other pitiful things going on in this country) I wouldnt be considering moving from this damn island! You people trying to save Bermuda business are going to push those very people you need to save you away. I will NEVER buy Bermuda – customer service is DISGRACEFUL and PATHETIC, people you deal with are IGNORANT and plain DISRESPECTFUL, prices you pay are APPALLING, why would anyone want to Buy Bermuda if this is what we face?? And you face this in almost every single store – judgment for being young, racism for being foreign or even white these days, impatience for not knowing what you need to be looking for, the list goes on! Raise duty to 100% and you’ll still find people “running away” from the crap they would otherwise have to deal with when being forced to Buy Bermuda. NOT ME!!!! (Side note, I hope you politicians including you Cox and all you other ‘yes men’ are going to pay your 35% on everything you bring in from overseas! See how much you really support your country then)

    • S Brown says:

      If the average Bermudian is suffering from economic hardships, why are so many complaining about an increase in duty when you return from trips. The MAJORITY of people who this affects are people who travel overseas ONLY to shop.

      Did Govt state that duty of goods shipped in will increase? no. If I were to buy items online (which I do when I need to) it should not affect me.

      Furthermore, the last thing I am thinking about right now is shopping overseas for material items. I believe things are going to be a lot worse on this island (i.e increase in food and utility prices) and I am bracing for the worst. Safe investments and saving as much as I can, my priorities at this moment are not flying overseas to buy clothes and other non-necessary items.

      But those who can afford to travel overseas just for the purpose of shopping, more power to you… many of us on this island do not have that luxury in these tough economic times.

      If duty increases on items I would order online then I would be vex.

      Furthermore, I wonder if this removal of payroll tax would equate to retailers lowering prices… Is anyone checking on that??

    • shameful says:

      U r so right, I hope Paula in her expensive suits pays her duty because we know they aren’t 100$ outfits! She was a mistake being Finance Minister, and she’s definitely more so a hugh mistake being Premier! She is a follwer and she has no respect for anyone. Buy BDA,like u said for bad service, and raising the duy to 35% is only going to make retailers increase their prices, which isn’t going to help us any cuz we still won’t be able to afford to shop there!!!!!!!

  17. Beez Evans says:

    As a Bermudian who is flying back to the island in 48hrs, I am somewhat surprised by the sudden announcement of the duty hike. I also recognize that the ability to travel and potentially shop abroad is a luxury, and perhaps it is appropriate to tax accordingly. I have the right to not shop on this trip and therefor I will not suffer any increased duties.
    My concern with the current move is the precedence being set. I have long disagreed with the duty structure at the airport as it completely ignores the duty rates set forth in the customs tarriff.
    If a duty hike of this magnitude can happen behind closed doors overnight, we should be concerned that a similar approach could be taken at the docks, the customs station on the east end, etc.
    I dont much care for politics, but perhaps the opposition should question the legal procedure for such a manuevere.
    Side note: sales tax vs. Duty. Interesting as a sound bite. But love to see the real plan. How would you propose the following: reporting process required by retailers, the auditing process that would be needed by govt, the potential upswing for retailers vs. The immediate losses to customs revenue, etc. This is not a simple transition. It would take yrs to implement properly, and should not be wreckelessly thrown out as a political poker chip.
    Last question (retorical of course): where will government recoup the millions lost on payroll taxes over the next 6 months?

    • not an economist says:

      The rate change can’t take effect until passed by parliament, so when you come back it will only be at 25%.

    • MinorMatters says:

      Agree: where are the studes/facts that show how much the government will lose in payroll tax, what plan is there for the retailers to mark down their goods to pass on the savings, how will this markdown be monitored, will the 10% increase in the duty tarriff and the reduction of the number of exemptions per household offset the decreased payroll tax, was there any consultation with the local Economists, Competant Senior Accounting Specialists…basic questions but where are the basic answers? Where is the supporting documentation and evidence that this is a sound move…??? Mayday Mayday…we have a government that provides reactionary knee-jerk response to a problem that requires more than an overnight solution.

    • Hmmmmm says:

      Did you ask that question when your business got a tax break ?

      • I'm just sayin...... says:

        +1 on Hmmmmmm’s remark!

        BTW I think this increase sucks but what sucks more are the disingenuous comments made for political point scoring.

  18. MinorMatters says:

    “Punitive”??? How about just plain retarded!

    • Ross says:

      More foolish partisan speak on this site..It can only be punitive if you shop abroad and if you seriously have concerns for the Bermudian economy than you have to see the logic in spending in Bermuda to help stimulate the economy and in doing so keeping Bermudians employed.

      The Premier didn’t increase Payroll tax nor did she increase other mandatory taxes , so just simmer down Bob & co and put aside the BS party politics.

      • sandgrownan says:

        Well Ross, I don’t think you fully understand. The arbitrary raising of one tax smacks of desperation lack of ideas and a reactionary approach to the problems we face. It will have a marginal impact on tax revenue and will do nothing for local retail. It’s simply a cheap tax grab disguised as something else – poorly disguised I might add.

        Bob’s point has been, and continues to be, that chipping away at symptoms in an ad hoc manner is not substitute for a coherent economic policy and measures to jump start the economy. Cog needs to look at fundamentals and, to date at least, has shown and unwillingness to do this. The reality is. the PLP and specifically the Premier & Finance Minister are bankrupt of ideas.

        • Ross says:

          Fully understand and whether it be desperate or not it is a method of keeping money in circulation in Bermuda…

        • Ronshana says:

          Sandgrownman…..I beg to differ, the lack of payroll tax means that our business can now afford to employ 1 more staff member instead of letting one go. That’s 2 jobs in one store….

          • What says:

            No they won’t employ one more person per store. Stores will employ the minimum or close to the minimum they need to operate.

          • sandgrownan says:

            It’s reactionary tinkering. It will solve nothing. The payroll tax “holiday” is fair enough, but a cheap trick on duty to cover revenue lost? Really?

          • shameful says:

            Let’s see how many businesses let staff go despite the payroll tax change… And ur prices will still be outrageous!

  19. star man says:

    Plan…??! When have you ever seen a PLP plan? You need a plan you say, BWAA-HA-HA-Ha-Ha-Ha!!

    Time for a BIG change.

  20. VarietyRqd says:

    Here are the reasons I don’t think this will work. There isn’t enough variety and that is why I don’t shop here. I try very hard to shop Bermuda and do when it is affordable. I don’t want to see Bermudians out of work but this is not just a problem in Bermuda or did they notice. The whole world is experiencing a shift in their economy. Why don’t they do one better, no tax on food (wow thats a thought) maybe I would eat out more and the restaurants would thrive. Maybe lower the import duties for the retailers for 6 months so they can buy more of a variety and sell them for a better prices, Lord I think we are unto to something.

    By trying to shift the responsibility to the tax payers is not he answer actually it will backfire, because as of today I will not for six moths buy any good in Bermuda at all, now if I feel like this I am pretty sure others do, so let’s see what happens now.

    Think before you propose crazy bandaide fixes without full thought. We all want to buy Bermuda we love Bermuda and want to see everyone prosper, think outside the box and look for innovation ways and not punitive measures to get things done.

    People that travel and shop and pay duty on arrival increase the money in Government’s purse, encourage it and why don’t you then provide rebates to the local retailers. What do you do with the money from duties anyway……….?

    There are creative ways to make things happen.

  21. Freedon from the PLP says:

    THE BERMUDA GOVERNMENT CAN KISS THERE 35%, becuase it wont be happening. Every Bermudian must be disgusted. And if Paula COx thinks this is the solution, she needs to quite her day job effecto immediately. I can’t beleive this hike in prices. I hope Bermuda Protest for her resignation. What a slap in out faces. To save retail….last time I checked a basice top cost me $50.00 and a bag of groceries are costing me 90.00 for one person household. Im starting to think I need to buy groceries overseas. Poor Puala…she would be the second worse Premier Bermuda has ever seen. Right after her old commander Dr. Brown. Two PLP people who drove this country into the WHOLE. Wow, legacy doenst really have any standpoint at this moment. All these years of them trying to get in power, and all they did was run Bermuda to the Debts of hell. All this praising to the PLP, I dare the people vote them back in….. You ever heard of the continental shift. Well the population shift will occur, when you no longer can feed your children in the country you are in.

  22. Ross says:

    Nooo, we all don’t want to shop Bermuda and many only ever shop abroad..further many find various ways to avoid paying the appropriate duty…

  23. RN says:

    I don’t like it “who likes paying taxes”…but I understand it’s a necessary evil to life….

    I purchased a pair of tights from a local store for $35.00 thinking not so bad….until I found a Conway price tag stuck in the inside leg for $2.99. I hope someone is monitoring the profit margin for the retail & grocery stores as well as the the hotels… I don’t see where the breaks they are getting are tricking down.

    And Bob I sure wish you would stop pretending that you are offering a solution when in fact you and the OBA are opposing any and everything for opposing sake…

    What does the OBA really stand for…..except for taking care of non Bermudians especially if your in the upper echelon, and F$@k the rest of the people.Where is the OBA’s balance. I’m starting to think he is getting his pockets lined…

    • Rick Rock says:

      Soooo…do you agree with the payroll tax relief for retail or not? You seem to be arguing against it.

      • RN says:

        I agree with it, in principle, I think every entity receiving relief, should be under greater scrutinized to ensure that Bermuda residence benefit,and not just adding to the owners profits, put some stipulation in it like not laying off persons or cutting hours.

        I also believe Bermuda needs to take a look at our tax structure, I believe we have out grown the old model.. the new one needs to place a greater consideration on lowering taxes for the poor. we need to get a grip on the gap between the rich an poor…

        I don’t agree with a sales tax, because I find our retailers greedy… they will have a 2000% profit on their goods in addition to the sale tax.

        There should be price controls as well as a tax incentive for monopoly items.. ie only Boyle’s selling Clarks shoes at 400% the US price..
        If any Govt wants residents to buy Bermuda, price controls are got to be put in place..it’s not like we can drive to the next town or state for competition.

        I will also admit I do 99% of my shopping away…right now I am not so proud of that, after coming back from school, starting a family I never brought Bermuda some 30 years now. taught my children how not to buy Bermuda

        With the situation the world is in now. I feel a sense of responsibility to my county and I am attempting to reverse my ways for the greater good.

        • Rick Rock says:

          If retailer are, as you’re describing it, greedy, then why do we need to reduce their tax burden? If they were really suffering for business they would be charging less for their goods and making themselves more competitive. That is, if it’s as you’re describing.

          You’re suggesting there should be price controls, but you also say you purchase 99% of your shopping away. Believe me, if you introduce price controls there will be nothing to buy here. Another nail in Bermuda’s coffin.

          The problem is that this type of knee-jerk “idea of the day” is not part of a plan. There is no strategy to get us out of the mess we’re in. It’s one crazy idea after another. And the govt is inconsistent. On one hand they’re cutting payroll tax to encourage retail, and on the other hand they’re doing all they can to discourage IB. So do they want jobs here or not?

          In the past few days they’ve spent their time doing photo-ops with beauty queens, photoshoots in hotels, and announced a nice trip to Manchester for a ‘conversational breakfast’ and a ‘cocktail party’, all at taxpayers expense. They give the impression they don’t give a rats behind about what any of us think about anything.

          I can’t wait for the election. They should call it as soon as possible. We need change. Now.

          • RN says:

            I am optimistic that with the down turn everyone will do thing differently Govt, employers, Landlords tenants employee, people to people in general.
            I am looking forward to a better Bermuda after this….

            One good thing about time, it improves things see today everyone has the right to vote for the person that best shares their vision..

            and we can respectfully differ in who that may be.

            • Rick Rock says:

              RN, I agree about respectfully differing. I actually don’t mind who runs things, as long as they do the right thing. I don’t share your optimistic view though. My view is that on the current track the economy will get much worse than it is now, and that will lead to serious and unresolvable economic and social problems.
              A smaller, less complicated economy might sound seductive, but unless Bermuda has something to offer the world there won’t be tenants, or people in hotels, restaurants, or in taxis.
              If we’re not careful we will have a crime-ridden (even more than now) violent, lawless country. Think of Haiti.

    • What says:

      Go read the OBA Webite look under each clickable header and you will read what the OBA are for. Search for OBA Bermuda.

  24. What says:

    TOWN was dead today, the quietest I have witnessed in some time!

  25. LMAO says:

    town was dead because of the PLP government? it was dead because all of Bob Richards cronies are overseas shopping before the 35% kick in.

  26. LeeWorn Fugbutt says:

    All you PLP hatas bess stop cos it jess ain’t right. You should baa darn to de PLP an you shouldn’t be allow-ed to criticize. Anyone who criticizes PLP is racist and thet’s a fect!!!

    Its Cyber bullyin am tellin u. I mean om gon tell my Momma if you don stop right naw!!!

    Om jess sayin.

  27. Merianna says:

    People keep referring to the “10% increase” in duty for goods accompanying passengers at the airport.
    IF the 25% duty had been incre
    ased by 10% it would become 27.50% (10% of 25% is 2.5%).

    The rate actually increased 40% (40% of 25% is 15%. 25% + 15% = 35%).

  28. 1minute says:

    The 35% is easy to get araound – Fly away and do all the shopping you want. Put it in your friend container and have it shipped back. Then you pay the regular rate for duty…
    Personally I try to Buy Bermuda, like most of the people I know. I will buy away for certian electronics as I don’t want to wait 6-9 months for those models. Plus if I am on vacation, away usually has a bigger variety so I will do some shopping.
    I do believe that Sales Tax would be better than Import Duty.
    To those that say the OBA doesn’t have a plan, they do, they are just holding on to it so the PLP doesn’t try and take credit for it…

  29. LMAO says:

    Give me a break, “To those that say the OBA doesn’t have a plan, they do, they are just holding on to it so the PLP doesn’t try and take credit for it…”

    Are you stuck on Stupid, who cares who gets the credit if OBA truly believes in puttin Bermuda 1st, they would not be placing such asinine statements. so childish. told you, you can’t trust them, snakes.

  30. RN says What!!!!!! says:

    @ 1minute

    So you mean to tell me, and I am assuming that you are in the know, that the OBA is willing to allow the BERMUDA people to suffer,for another maybe 13 months, so the PLP does not get any credit for a recovery….

    Is that how they will put Bermuda first…

    what do they call this strategy… Bermuda first but only if you vote for us if not we will continue to sabotage any good ideas, and make the people suffer.

    just asking..

  31. Triangle Drifter says:

    Government nibbles & nibbles till there is nothing left to take. Wonder how much Government would howl if the US Government put similar restrictions on what their citizens could buy duty free in Bermuda?

    Who remembers back when the duty free allowance was worth about $1000 in todays purchasing power?

    Retail was booming then. People did not travel near as much either. Air fares were far more expensive. Various duty rates were not near what they are today.

    Government did not have such a massive civil service to pay either. There was no debt to service. Polititians considered the job partime & were paid as such.

    How times have changed!

  32. shameful says:

    Get that woman out of that seat!!!! She is a devil in disguise, she cnt be trusted… Ǝ.B and her had this all planned… Wonder if her siblings , neices, nephews etc are being effected by this increase? Damn Paula u got to GO GO GO! Ur wheel is breaking and u r not saving things, ☑ m8!

  33. Bad Girl turn Good says:

    Ok so I am about to open a service business which also sells retail. All of my fit out & furniture will come from overseas worth over $60,000, She must be friggn crazy if I am paying 35% to import my items. I would rather hav FAKE RECEIPTS. No it is not business like or HONEST but this crap calls for devine intervention. NEED I SAY MORE. Sorry the Premeir should NEVER have rights to funding legislation, have a round table discussion with the industries also before dramatic changes.