Live Blog Updates: 2013/14 Bermuda Budget

February 22, 2013 | 66 Comments

[Updated] Finance Minister Bob Richards is set to deliver the 2013 Budget in the House of Assembly this morning [Feb 22], which will set out the Government’s financials plans for the upcoming fiscal year.

This will be the first budget devised by Minister Richards on behalf of the One Bermuda Alliance Government, who took control following their 19-17 victory at the polls in December 2012.

Speaking at a briefing last month, Minister Richards said “the state of Government finances is every bit as bad as we had feared it might be when we were on the outside.”

He said they are “committed to changing the trajectory of deficits and debt going forward” however they “have to keep the government running,” so further borrowing will be required, and the debt ceiling will be raised.

Update: The full document is here [PDF], and some highlights are below:

  • Laying legislation to raise debt ceiling from $1.45 billion to $2.5 billion
  • Total Revenues $871.2
  • Total Current Expenditures $983.8
  • Debt Service $134.3
  • Current Account Deficit $246.9
  • Capital Expenditure $84.6
  • Overall Deficit $331.6
  • Government will commence negotiations with unions on reduction in staff compensation.
  • Two year payroll tax holiday for new Bermudian hiring
  • Lowering licence fees for non-Bermudians to purchase property.
  • Increase in vehicle licence fees of 3% on all vehicles
  • Seniors car licence fee exemption in classes E, F, G & H rescinded
  • Corporate Service Tax Rate will be raised from 4% to 6% to gain $1.5M extra revenue
  • Additional funding to increase police manpower
  • Cost of bus passes [day passes] will be raised, resulting in $500K increased revenue
  • Government will use all available means to collect overdue taxes
  • Extra $30,000 provided to the Police Complaints Authority
  • Duty on cigarettes, tobacco, beer, wines & other spirits will be increased
  • Land tax increase in rates on ARV bands higher than $90,000
  • Payroll tax breaks for hotels, restaurants & retail will be extended.

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Comments (66)

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  1. Family Man says:

    Deficit now double the Cog's fairly tale budget!!!

    Last one out won't have to turn off the lights. They'll go out by themselves.

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    • new COGbuget says:

      Bob the snob obviously has come up with a band aid budget for him cronies and foreigners.

      Finally now that Bobby is in charge, the light came on and we are in a recession? - funny all before now, the blame was the former cog in the wheel. Welcome new Cog.

      Laying legislation to raise debt ceiling from 1.45 to 2.5 billion?

      Who's the new cog? Giving Police more money. Lowering tax for non bermudians home purchasing.

      Increasing tax for senior cars licensing.

      Good luck with telling government workers to take a cut in pay or work less hours which will end up being a decrease in salary.

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      • Argosy says:

        NO....we're definitely NOT in a recession. We are well into the "economy picking up" as the PC Cog put it a year ago!!

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      • Family Man says:

        Remind me again what Paula called her 2010 budget.

        Oh yeah I remember ... the "Recovery Budget". hahahahahaha

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      • Balanced Facts says:

        Help you with a little economic lesson...PRINTING MONEY TO FUND GOVERNMENT IS BAD!

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    • Out of flight says:

      Wow. Told you he had no balls.

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  2. Ride says:

    Bernews,

    Is there anyway that streaming video can be setup in advance for important event like this. Other countries have live video broadcast and internet streams from their parliaments and the like. What is holding Bermuda back from doing this? Bernews seems to be the most technologically progressive news provider so I'm thinking if anyone can do it surely you can. I mean, there is also the wifi network (is that still operational?) in Hamilton so you don't have to use 3G to stream.

    Ride

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    • .am says:

      I'm not sure CoH's upstream is any better than the 3G stick [Bernews] were using for PLP's election rally in the East end. Tbh, I can't recall ever having seen CoH's service showing up in my possible connections - not near the ferry terminal, nor on Reid St, nor Burnaby.

      Maybe poor video in exchange for quality audio for something like this?

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    • street wise says:

      Why not use CITV for this important purpose... Its pretty well useless as it is.

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  3. 32n64w says:

    Thank you PLP hierarchy for mortgaging our children and grand-children's futures.

    Your failed 14 years in Government and inability to manage our economic and social infrastructure will negatively reverberate for decades to come.

    You should be ashamed of yourselves ... but you're so self absorbed, blinded by ignorance and lacking in humility you'll never accept responsibility for your numerous mistakes in judgement and implementation.

    PLP - Betraying Bermudians since 1998, $2,500,000,000 and growing every day!

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  4. Impressive says:

    Richards: Europe has not recovered as well as USA

    As principle trading partner, state of USA is vital to our future

    Richards: Bermuda's economy is mainly a trading economy

    OOOOHH?? So he is in a round about way saying that Bermuda's recession is attributed to outside factors??? Wow,, would have never guessed.. cheeeesh buh,, this guy is a genius.

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    • Al says:

      Read the whole thing.

      "It
      is the stark contrast between
      Bermudian economic data
      and the improving data from
      our trading partners like the
      USA and Canada that led
      analysts to the firm conclusion
      that Bermuda’s prolonged
      recession was due to structural
      Bermudian issues, issues that
      we are compelled to address
      ourselves."

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    • WillSee says:

      I disagree:
      The USA is recovering.
      The PLP spent to much money and mismanaged government finances.

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  5. DarkSideOfTheMoon says:

    So taxes and fees are going up except for the foreign licence fee for buying property which is getting slashed like its in an 80's horror film....

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    • M.P. MOUNTBATTEN JP says:

      Bob is a sly fox ! He takes it back when they buy wine to celebrate the purchase and roof wetting .

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    • campervan says:

      Dont worry, there will be little to no take up on this "offer"
      Foreigners will continue leaving taking their nest eggs elsewhere, somewhere more accommodating to them.
      You are all on your own DSOTM. All on your own like an 80's horror film. Keep playing the banjo music.

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  6. golden says:

    I wonder how much Payroll tax and Social Insurance is going up in April?

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    • blankman says:

      Hopefully not at all - Paula showed what happened when payroll tax is increased and the island still hasn't recovered.

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  7. Mike says:

    Thanks Bernews. An excellent summary.

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  8. Deliverance says:

    Payroll tax and Soc Ins will be NOTHING compared to how much your health insurance is gonna go up!

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  9. We See Behind The Curtain Fahy... says:

    @darkside of the moon - of course they are slashing the fees of Aliens that want to buy property here...next they will be selling citizenships - the idea has already been floated as such...this is all part of their plan to slowly eliminate "bermudians" from this landscape - as a matter of fact if you step aways a bit to see the bigger picture this party has its nozzle pointed squarely in the direction of an economic strangle hold on bermudian families under the guise of "rolling out he red carpet for IB"

    Again - IB will fail here as it will world wide because the dollar is unwinding as a global trade reserve. When that happens there is NOTHING anyone here can do. The USA and its main partner in atrocities (Israel) will start wars (as they do) in the name of "the war onterrorism" or "humanitarian interventions" in an effort to keep a hold of its decaying hegomony...

    It is our fault - ALL OF BERMUDA - that we got greedy and allowed our ecomomy to be so one legged in the first place.

    As a reminder to the "guest" workers here. - you trade financial instruments and services - that is it. that does not entitle you to propery here. We have a very limited acharage therefore, selling to you means that our sons and daughters will never be able to enjoy a garden in their own country. NOT ON OUR WATCH. Do your jobs save up your monies, enjoy your wine tastings, spa treatments, golf outings, fishing trips and then GO BACK HOME - enriched with the opportunity to live in this country for awhile - pad your resume, then be off to the next jurisdiction where you can artificially inflate real estate prices and displace the native peoples.

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    • street wise says:

      I believe Bob is talking about high-end properties, not the properties around a million or so which most Bermudians cannot afford anyways - other than Ewart's pals who will be buying up waterfront property like there is no tomorrow. You watch... they're all in bed together. But you can buy a nice condo, they're a bargain nowadays... especially the totally cool Grand Atlantic development.

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    • campervan says:

      So you say that "IB will fail here", and yet you still think there will be floods of expats buying citizenship and property.
      LOL.
      Dont worry we will all GO BACK HOME along with the financial resources that will not be invested in Bermuda.

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      • Bermuda Cat says:

        @ campervan,

        You need help packing? Acting like there will be no life here if IB left. There was life in BDA before IB, and if need be, there would be one after. I read to many comments on here where people are acting asif Bermudians are the only people who benefit when compaines are here. Let me be clear, the only reason they are here is because it is profitable. As soon as the new emerging market opens, and it's a little more profitable somewhere else, they will leave. Thats how businesses run. So if you want to leave, don't let the door hit you, where the good lord split you!

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        • Franklin jr says:

          Oh, there will be life here after IB - no question

          But it will be a far FAR cry from the life a lot of Bermudians have become accustomed to.

          Please understand I do not say this out of malice or ill will towards the island. However, a lot of people here need to realize (and quickly) that this is an island equivalent in size and population to a small city in North America or Europe, it is NOT a large well-diversified COUNTRY.

          Bermuda has ZERO natural resources other than location, and natural beauty. The location bit (that kept Bermuda alive and thriving) up until about 1900 is now irrelevant. This island is no longer a vital maritime stopover for merchant or military traffic. From approx 1900 and into the 1980's, tourism took advantage of the natural beauty (and warm culture) resource and the island thrived. Now the tourism product is overpriced, subpar, and service generally surly or by foreigner. There are still some wonderful Bermudians in the tourism/service industries, but most of them have been there for a LONG time and aren't getting any younger. Fantastic BERMUDIAN service is now the exception rather than the wonderful rule.

          The problem with simply inviting the foreigners and their foreign currency businesses to take a hike, is that the conditions that allowed Bermuda grow and enjoy a high standard before IB have evaporated.

          Continue with the xenophobic ranting, and you might just get your way... and be find yourself sitting in a spectacular house that you can rent for the low price of $100/month or outright buy for $100K, but you won't have any power, and your stomach will be rumbling.

          Belco's suppliers, the companies that ship food here, etc will NOT take Bermuda dollars - a currency that is worthless the second your feet leave this rock.

          Please find a reliable source for foreign currency before you demand that the current one take a hike

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    • WillSee says:

      Obviously, you are not starving or unemployed!

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    • Serious Though says:

      Bermuda needs more people to pay it's debt! FULL STOP! NO SPIN REQUIRED.....

      The county went spending, of course not on foreigners either and now you need them to pay you some of the debt, $2,400,000,000 so as the saying goes 'what's in for them', in help in paying for debt, A piece of the rock, that would help, it is lesson to future generation, don't spend money that you don't have..

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    • Grubster says:

      Yes, rent allowances from IB companies does inflate property prices, but look at how many greedy Bermudians were so eager to buy all these properties to rent out when the times were good. Look at how many people have empty properties they can't now let because there are fewer expats and they are not willing to reduce the rent to a realistic amount.
      Also, I actually wonder how many guest workers would actually want to buy property.

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    • John says:

      Who b native to bda?? White english guys?

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    • navin johnson says:

      let me guess.....you are are die hard PLP supporter?

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  10. Deliverance says:

    wow... showing your true colours there Mr. "We See Behind The Curtain Fahy.." First of all... all this that we have here right now is all the fault of the PLP's fiscal mismanagement and racist policies. I fail to understand what you are afraid of by inviting people to become Bermudian? We need to grow our population to pay for the things you and I take for granted. And if some rich dude wants to come here and spend all his money, I'm all for it! I'll clean his house and drive him wherever he wants to go!

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  11. Welcome the reduction in property licence fees for PRCs but it falls short of what I believe Government should do: http://breezeblog.net/2013/02/22/one-step-forward-two-back/

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  12. Back-in-the-day-girl says:

    So the foreigner gets a tax decrease and the Bermudian's tax increases. This is the way of life now people. Get used to it. OBA Selling us out, one Bermudian at a time.

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    • Loquatz says:

      Umm, not quite. The taxes are so high that no foreigners are buying ... and so Gov gets no taxes. By dropping the rates, they hope to stimulate sales and thereby get some revenue ... plus get the economic benefit of having those houses upgraded, used, etc.

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    • Balanced Facts says:

      See, its OUR Country, but THEY bring in the money...so WE need to do things to make that idea attractive to them whilst at the same time taking some responsibility by being careful ourselves. (written by my 10 year old!).Help you understand?

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  13. Deliverance says:

    Of course PRC's should be granted Bermuda status. It is un-heard of anywhere in the civilized world that it should be otherwise. In fact, our entire status policy needs to be revisited. We need a population boost of hard working tax payers!

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  14. Purple says:

    BerNews - can you please clarify in your highlights that these figures are in MILLIONS for those who may not read the full budget statement?

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  15. San George says:

    Feeling like a Greek!
    $2.5 billion – that is $62,500 in debt per Bermudian or $38,500 in debt per resident – Wow!
    Increase the Tax on Cable TV; $50 per month Government Tax.
    Put a $50/month Government Tax on cell phones.
    The free stuff is finally going to have to get paid for.
    Stevie Wonder saw this coming but not Alaska Hall – SHAMEFUL!

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  16. O'Brien says:

    What a numpty David Burt is. It takes a special sort of nerve for a member of the PLP to accuse Richards of lacking fiscal foresight. Their record in office? 1998: full employment, balanced budget. 2012: massive unemployment, $3.5 billion debt. Says it all.

    Sit down bye.

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  17. manseh says:

    Wasnt it a while back when Bob Richards was holding discussions with the PAC when investigating the Emissions Center that they said they could saved the government 2 million a year? Whatever became of that? And didn't the Auditor General say that they still have not done any legislation, so what exactly are they getting paid for?

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  18. Keepin' it Real...4Real! says:

    watch this and see Bermudas future.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=M09HKwSFffE

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  19. Ex Expat says:

    @CamperVan - Yep there was life in Bda b4 IB, and there will be after too, and it will be the same as pre late 80's - simpler so to speak - less travel, less bling, extended fams in the same house for generations, etc, etc. Y'all got greedy, fat, pampered, lazy, full of entitlement, and killed the golden goose. Now the younger generations will pay for it. That's why ur all fighting amongst yourselves at all levels. Bunch of spoiled brats saying get out of my sandbox at the playground. Its also not IB's fault ya let tourism rot either.., but that's another story.

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    • Wowzers says:

      It's ppl like you ex expat that annoy Bermudians with your stupid comments. That's why you were able to build your own nest egg eh? Where you come from we could've never made such money actually nowhere in the world could a Bermudian benefit from working. So shut up and fall down.

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  20. Deliverance says:

    good idea raising the taxes on cable and cell phones. after all, it's only the rich that can afford more than one tv. and i know very few seniors who use cell phones... they all still use land lines. GO FOR IT! Next, COH should institute an entry fee into the city for all bikes (except tourists) and cars (except handicapped and seniors). Truckers and other industrial/delivery vehicles can be looked at separately.

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  21. Ex Expat says:

    @wowzers - Funny, and sad. I guess the Bermudians I met during my other postings in Guernsey and Grand Cayman were apparitions - many of whom echo my sentiments, and most of which are self made non-silver spoon(read 40 thieves) types...They are doing quite nicely and have no plans to return for anything other than family commitments...Speaks volumes. Then of course there is Singapore, Isle of Man, Jersey and a couple of other like jurisdictions where Onions that bothered to put their nose to the grindstone are thriving with the best of the best and creating their own "nest egg". It's a big competitive world out there buddy. The sooner you guys realize it the better, if it isn't already too late.

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