[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- Seniors car licence fee exemption in classes E, F, G & H rescinded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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