Bob Richards: Plan A ‘Win-Win-Win Proposition’

December 6, 2012

[Updated] The OBA’s Jobs and Economic Recovery Plan is a “win-win-win proposition” as an unemployed Bermudian gets a job, the employer gets a tax break, and the government earns extra tax income, Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards recently said.

Mr Richards was responding to the PLP’s David Burt who recently said the “OBA has rushed out with a half baked, ill conceived, unfair scheme that will cause taxes to be raised on both workers and some small business owners. The OBA’s sloppy and unfair plan expects workers to bear the burden of payroll taxes while a select few of the OBA’s business friends get relief.”

Mr Richards said: “One of the action items in the OBA’s Jobs and Economic Recovery Plan is to provide employers a two-year payroll tax exemption for every Bermudian they hire. This is a job-creating incentive that can get out-of-work Bermudians back on the job by easing cost pressures on employers.

“It’s a win-win-win proposition: An unemployed Bermudian gets a job, the person or firm which hires him gets a tax break, and the government starts earning tax income that it wasn’t earning before.

“But David Burt, the Junior Finance Minister, calls the plan ‘unfair’ because it will ’cause taxes to be raised on both workers and some small business owners. This statement is so completely wrong, so upside down as to be almost not worth comment… almost.

“What troubles me most about Mr. Burt’s statement is that he is speaking directly against something that can help out-of-work Bermudians. He is placing politics before people and partisan interests over the welfare of families struggling to make ends meet.

“But Mr. Burt’s history with this particular issue has never been true,” Mr Richards continued.

“When he first attacked the plan some weeks ago, he said it would cost the public purse some $126 million. This was so badly wrong as to be laughable, if it wasn’t so seriously misleading. The plan will actually grow the public purse through payroll tax payments by newly hired Bermudians. There is no cost attached to this plan whatsoever.

“In his hotly partisan determination to score political points, Mr. Burt has now moved from his indefensible criticism of the plan’s cost to its ‘unfairness’.

“This is a job creation plan, put together in the midst of the worst unemployment in Bermuda’s modern history. There are now more than 10,000 Bermudians either unemployed or under-employed. That’s a lot of hardship in a lot of households, and for a Government spokesman to trash a plan that can help ease pressures on people tells us how far off base its politics has sunk.

“An OBA Government will put in place two-year employer payroll tax exemptions for all new Bermudian hiring because it will work for people who are now struggling to stay afloat, who have children to feed and clothe.

“If Mr. Burt’s going to play politics, don’t do it in a way that works against people’s best interest. That’s change Bermuda needs,” concluded Mr Richards.

Update 2.38pm: In response, aPLP Spokesman said: “Bob Richards can assert all he wants that his risky scheme will work, but, the fact is that it is a giveaway to his business supporters and leaves middle class and working Bermudians paying the bill.

“The OBA’s plan is simple. It says that businesses don’t have to pay their fair share of the payroll tax, but, employees still have to pay theirs. That’s unfair.

“It is absolutely critical that we provide real relief to working and middle class Bermudians. The OBA’s plan doesn’t do that. Their plan keeps your taxes high while lining the pockets of their business supporters.

“With risky schemes like this, it is clear that the OBA is standing strong for large businesses owners, and not for everyday Bermudians. The OBA’s scheme is a Lose-Lose for working and middle class Bermudians.”

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Comments (22)

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  1. Dude says:

    The savings that are being suggested don’t seem significant enough to influence a hire/don’t hire decision, on an individual basis, so I’m Just wondering what else there is to this program.

    How much will a small tax bump affect the incremental costs versus incremental benefit of a new hire decision?

    Then there are opportunities for abuse of a program (which I’m sure would be considered and mitigated.)

    Just wish I knew a bit more.

    under this plan….

    Will those employers who have, in the short term, implemented strategies to retain or otherwise protect the employment of their staff despite hardship not be offered any kind of relief?

    Can an employer conceivably terminate employees and then hire other employees to benefit from tax relief?

    Will there be a look back to determine how long a person has been unemployed to avoid employers benefiting from employing people who were effectively between jobs rather than genuinely unemployed and suffering hardship?

    Will there be controls in place to direct the use of savings on the part of employers, or is this policy strictly to incentivise hiring?

    Could taxes saved by employers be pooled and provided to a particular beneficiary group?

    For example, tax savings on all new hires be pooled and distributed amongst all non-management staff.

    Or, significant tax savings on all new hires be pooled to create an apprenticeship position.

    Or tax savings be pooled and utilised to promote education/training in the related industry or sector.

    • LMAO says:

      Bob needs to come clean. He read the Plan and pass it on to BDA founders. Dunkley and Bob are not be trusted. Dunkley is no honest. Gibbons is not honest. Shame on me, I was part of the BDA and was thinking of voting for oba.

      • LMAO says:

        Bob needs to come clean. He read the Plan and pass it on to BDA founders. Dunkley and Bob are not to be trusted. Dunkley is no honest. Gibbons is not honest. Shame on me, I was part of the BDA and was thinking of voting for oba, but can not support a party that voids itself of working honestly and hiding behind black people just for the dough.

  2. swing voter says:

    makes sense to me Richards. a job is created, the employer gets a break, and the employee pays a few dollars out for a job that didn’t exist before the incentive was offered. Burt and the BIU clowns have got to be joking to oppose any plan that gets BDA back to work. Butch furbert needs to take his foot out of his mouth.

  3. Edmund Wells says:

    Dude-

    Your last five questions seem to suggest that Government should direct how businesses apply the savings. That negates the whole concept of Mr. Richards’ proposal. Your prior questions seem to be focused on the minutiae of the idea.

    Only one of your questions addresses the substance of the proposal; certainly, it’s valid to ask if the tax savings are enough to incent business to hire. But even if it turns out to be insufficient, where’s the damage?

    At least Mr. Richards has made a proposal that on its face appears to be well-thought out and potentially effective. Where’s the equivalent from the PLP?

    EW

    • Undecided Voter says:

      Edmund, PLP already has a plan in place that is protecting business in the most vulnerable sectors.

      Do you really think that in IB they are worried about the $5000 a year they may save if they hire someone new.

      As i said before I am in retail and I want to know what is the OBA goign to do to help people who may not be hiring…

      Or should I, under the OBA plan fire my staff and hire them back so i pay no taxes.

  4. Clear View says:

    One of friends said to me “I’ve been out of a job for a few months now since moving back from the UK, I need a job. The OBA seems as though they can get the jobs back.”
    I recently return from vacationing in the UK myself, and being a news and current events freak I was tuned into the BBC daily.

    In the UK, once the fierce banking capital, is losing jobs steadily; Spain, Greece and much of the rest of Europe is in economic trouble, and even in once rapidly growing economies such as Brazil have drastically slowed down, even with the hosting the Olympics and World Cup closing in. And although the US economy is improving, it is doing so slowly.

    So the big question is “How do you expect to buck the world trend on the economy and jobs in contrast to the rest of the world? With Bermuda having so much reliance on those very countries for all of the goods and services we provide, is it even possible to expect an influx of new jobs at this time?”

  5. Undecided Voter says:

    This is so Dumb.

    1) Bob Richards – Will you keep the current payroll tax rates?
    2) Big Deal, you save $5,0000 a year in taxes, you still have to find the other $45,000 or $65,000 to pay them.

    This just sounds nice, but its not practical at it doesn’t work!

    • zzzzzz says:

      Undecided Voter – margins are so thin in Bermuda right now that $5,000 is a big deal. This is a solid idea.

    • Zombie Apocalypse says:

      Strawman argument. You appear to be getting your tactics from Mr Markham’s report.

  6. Yng Black Mind says:

    Wait:

    I heard what you said, Mr. Richards. But you have not addressed the concern which Mr. Burt raised – which speaks to the increase tax this plan allows – by way of those newly hired Bermudians.

    Yes – they will have a job – great (seriously, no pun intended)
    Yes – the business will receive a tax break – goodie for them.

    BUT, that “break” will be put on the backs of those Bermudians working for that company – where is the break for the worker?

    Mr. Richards – please explain how the worker will not feel the weight of this “tax plan” so we can get behind it – if not, your “win-win-win” is nothing more than a “lose-win-win” to me.

    Yng Black Mind
    (those who know understand)

  7. M3ke says:

    Government doesn’t create jobs. They do not own private enterprise. Will you people wake up. Bermuda as a whole needs to invest in Bermuda and spend money on island. Stop taking your money overseas. Try to spend it here!!! We need to act as one to help stimulate our economy.

    MESSAGE TO LOCAL BUSINESSES: Lower your prices, offer sales, market yourselves, just like you did on Black Friday!!! We need your help not the government!!! Hire Bermudians. And Bermudians, stop being lazy, be Professional in all industries, set goals for yourselves, get educated and work hard!!!!

    Bob Richard why don’t you pick up a University Business Book and read the section on economics and capitalism.

  8. Undecided says:

    Bermudians are out of work; they cannot pay mortgages and other living expenses.

    I know of several families that have been told because they own a home ( really the bank does); there is nothing the Government can do to help. They could move out, hand keys to bank and get apartment and maybe then they can be helped with rent.

    Their children have to return from University, colleges because they cannot afford to keep them there.

    They have to sell their cars etc.

    People need work to support their families and if I have to pay taxes to and get a job then that’s fine with me!

    I would rather be employed. Seriously, does our Government really know what people are going through right now?

    Some of it is economy and some of it has been developed through the lack of new ideas for Bermuda.

    I don’t care about some flippin document that the UBP had or whatever; all parties have plans. What matters most to me right now is JOBS for Bermudians. If you want to win, start telling us how you can help us and present us with some real ideas/solutions.

    For so long we had a White party and now we have a Black party……………hmmmm think we need a Bi-Racial party and OBA does represent that for me. Leaning toward this party more an more.

    To think I voted for the PLP and to watch our people suffer is not helping.

  9. Edmund Wells says:

    Undecided Voter-

    Are you referring to the EEZs, which limit incentives to only a few areas of the Island, and only the employers that happen to be located there? If so, you are confusing policies that are intended to address two different needs.

    Given current economic conditions, $5,000 may well be a sufficient incentive for businesses to hire. I am sure they would not dismiss it out-of-hand.

    And again, where’s the risk? If the take-up is low, there’s no damage. If the take-up is high, Bermuda wins.

    Your focus on small details sounds like deliberately ignoring the benefits of Mr. Richards’ idea. Especially so, when those details have yet to be codified. And that, in turn, sounds like politics trumping getting Bermudians back to work. And you have not addressed the socialist ideas raised in your last questions, where Government essentially re-takes any benefit to the business.

    EW

    PS- This is your first comment on this story. Exactly where did you say you were in retail? And do you own a store, or are you an employee?

    If you want answers about OBA proposals, why not ask their candidate in your constituency? Why not look at the OBA website?

  10. GOD 1st says:

    Tax releif works for me . The PLP is about getting people out of work and unequal ethics while distributing contracts.

  11. There are already ways of creating jobs for Bermudians,just take a drive around and watch who is driving bakery trucks that I as a Bermudian can be doing or another Bermudian but it is a foreigner,go to the four pizza huts and see who is working there,go to the private homes and see who the nanny’s are,go into the hotel division and restaurants an see who are cleaners and dish washers are.Mr Richards you and this present Government better wake up,it is the folk that are at the bottom that are hurting and can find no relief,the jokers at the top is trying to sell us a pip dream to hope we will become silent.you all have and those in the middle is starting to be effected by loosing what they have and the have not is getting crushed by the jokers that cant believe they are being ask to down size or give up something to help those beneath them

  12. GOD 1st says:

    I must admit certain folks call in to 102.7 speak words of hate resent ,anger they talk fast and studder lol

    • Kneedeep says:

      how is it that you are calling yourself God first and are mocking those who have speech impediments…get it together

  13. Sandgrownan says:

    It’s a good move, no downside, but doesn’t really address the core problem of lack of demand for goods and services. Neither party has expressed a solution.

  14. Filta JP,MP says:

    Bob Richards, you are an idiot. You might be a nice person outside of politics, but as a politician you disgust me and seems like your ass is so tight that will like to handy cap is all with scare rants. Say something nice for once and you might get my attention, until then just stay a sarrogate, u and Craig.

  15. Kneedeep says:

    BOB keep trying to get them to see the light. While this is good. The money should be spent on getting black swing voters. focus on the elderly and the youth. The elderly are fearful about the economy, the youth resent overt race talk. speak of inspiration by restoring core values, offer the hope of restoring a community of peace, point out Dr.Browns mistakes and raise the fear that he is still in control. Focus on Paulas mistakes as finance minister. graphically display the rate of debt increase under her leadership. Point out how much money we had when they came in and how much we dont have now. Highlight the interest that we are paying and forcast the future if we stay with this team. Dont get entangled in race talk…You can’t let them define your agenda. Stay positive and unfortunately you have people like Wayne Scott who is the OBA equivalent of Commisiong (cant be trusted) and you have overt racist blogging for your team and still trying to influence black swing voters and the UBP grand wizards in the background with their sheets and chains and shackles and still have not dialed into a single core message that resounds and relates to the swing voters. You see bob, you have who you have, white people and conservative blacks focus on the areas that you dont have. marginal seats with young blacks and old blacks. Keep the racists quiet and stay as far away from UBP talk and defensiveness as possible.