80 Minute Video: PLP SAGE Report Town Hall

December 5, 2013

[Updated with slides] The PLP continued their series of Town Hall meetings on the Spending and Government Efficiency [SAGE] report with a public forum at the St George’s Cricket Club last night [Dec 4].

The recent SAGE Report recommended a raft of cost cutting measures including raising the retirement age to 68, possible privatization of some services, reducing the House of Assembly from 36 to 30 seats and closing all post offices but three and reducing staff.

PLP St George's  Bermuda, December 4 2013 (1)

The SAGE Commission said expense reductions in the first year should equal $65 million; in the second year $80 million; in the third year $85 million; and in the fourth year they should equal $90 million.

The panelists were Senator Renee Ming, MP Rolfe Commissiong and MP Walter Roban, and St David’s MP Lovitta Foggo served as moderator.

Slide presentation made by Mr Roban during the meeting, click arrow to move to next slide:

Those present in the audience included Opposition Leader Marc Bean, Deputy PLP Leader Derrick Burgess, PLP MP Michael Scott, PLP Senator Diallo Rabain, former Premier Paula Cox and former OBA MP John Barritt.

Mr Commissiong reiterated something previously said by MP Dennis Lister that if the majority of the suggestions in the SAGE Report were implemented, it could result in the reduction of the Government workforce by approximately 1,700 – 2,000 workers.

Slide presentation made by Senator Ming during the meeting, click arrow to move to next slide:

After the presentations from the panelists the floor was opened for attendees to provide feedback. The first gentleman who spoke, who wanted to be clear he was speaking for himself not the party, said we need income tax.

Another gentleman said the healthcare system needs to be looked at as health insurance costs can be problematic, while another lady suggested luxury tax saying many executives buy multiple boats indicating they can afford to pay tax on such luxuries.

47 minute video of the initial presentation:

33 minute of the the first part of the Q&A portion:

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  1. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    wow,standing room only!…(sniggers).

    • what did you expect ... says:

      That’s what happens if you only provide a few chairs

      • campervan says:

        Fewer chairs is good austerity policy. Perhaps the next meeting can have three legged stools, and the one after that just two legs. This is the kind of creative thinking that we need to get this country back on track.

  2. swing voter says:

    Lemme save everybody some time and explain our situation;

    (1) We’re Broke
    (2) There are too many gov’ment workers and politicians
    (3) nobody works a 40hr week
    (4) Sick Leave, Benefits, Pensions out of control
    (5) We’re all going down the tubes if we continue supporting stupid

  3. Tricks Are For Kids says:

    Just a thought on the gentleman that said we need ‘income tax’ and I could be wrong but wouldn’t that just really be another “burden” on the Middle Class? The rich would be able to afford it (no problem)….the poor (SOME) are probably not working so they won’t be paying it anyway…. therefore paying income tax would have the most impact on the “Middle Class”.

    • yesman says:

      They could implement it like the US or similar to Canada. The rich would qualify for a higher tax bracket than the middle class.

      • Sandy Bottom says:

        Yep, I get it. We tax people with proper jobs to keep the lazy gits with 14 weeks sick leave and 6 weeks vacation in their useless needless jobs.

        Sounds like a plp plan.

        • Robert says:

          Racist remark

          • Victor says:

            How so? It is possible (in fact likely if you do not enlighten we viewers) that yours is the racist remark for having dragged race into it.

            Last time I checked, many people of all races and combinations thereof were employed in the Civil Service.

          • Suzie Quattro says:

            Robert, are public employees entirely of one race then? Or are you just looking for things that aren’t there?

            The remark seemed to me to be aimed at the existence of the ridiculous amounts of time off they get.

        • Sign Up says:

          No Sandy Bottom, you don’t get it. The tax % would be determined based on ones annual income, not on whether the job is considered useful.

          Secondly, your response would imply that the wealthy have “proper jobs”, whilst us lowly middle class are all lazy bums in useles/meaningless jobs that abuse the systems. I’d bet you wouldn’t last 6 months at some of those meaningless “low class” jobs.

          It’s ok though, I understand. From most of your comments on these topics, I’d take a guess that it’s probably pretty hard for you to relate to the struggles of the less fortunate.

          1. No running water
          2. Crying yourself to sleep nights with hunger pains
          3. Having to pitch a tent, as the rents are too high
          4. Having to work at 12 to help pay bills.
          5. Unable to afford travel for over 15 years.
          6. Having to work three jobs, just to afford a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter.

          Living on the other side of the tracks tends to give you a different perspective on life. You should try it sometime. A real eye opener!

          • Sandy Bottom says:

            You’re suggesting that everyone else should pay more tax, purely to keep people employed who we all know are not doing anything useful. If tyey aren’t needed, they shouldn’t be there.

            And don’t lecture me about not being able to relate to financial struggles. I came from a single parent family and nobody handed me anything. The difference between me and you is I don’t expect handouts. And I don’t get 14 weeks paid sick leave every year plus carry forward what you don’t use.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Do we not already have a form of income tax, ontop of all the other taxes we have?

      It is called PAYROLL TAX.

      • Toodle-oo says:

        Plus ‘Hospital Levy’

        Both are percentages of your wage earnings and can vary from week to week or month to month depending on how much you’ve earned.

        So for the mis/uninformed we already have income tax twice. It’s just goes under a different name that is less scary to overseas investors.

        • LR says:

          Actually you are incorrect. We do NOT have an income tax!

          We have a payroll tax paid by employers, who by law, can pass on SOME of that tax to employees.

          Income Tax is a tax on ALL INCOME not just wages. Income meaning dividends, rental income, interest earnings.

    • Income tax? says:

      We already have income tax (we just call it Payroll Tax) and if you want to see what happens when that’s increased just look at job losses in the aftermath of the “temporary” increase implemented by Paula Cox.

      • LR says:

        Actually you are incorrect. We do NOT have an income tax!

        We have a payroll tax paid by employers, who by law, can pass on SOME of that tax to employees.

        Income Tax is a tax on ALL INCOME not just wages. Income meaning dividends, rental income, interest earnings.

  4. watching says:

    I think it is great that the PLP has hosted three meetings on SAGE commission report. It concerns me a bit that the Government has not seen fit to host some town halls on the report. Do they not want feedback from the public?

    • ummm says:

      This is more of a scare tactic to rally the die-hard supporters of the plp

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      The sage commission held all sorts of public meetings. Maybe your head was too far up your a**.

      • watching says:

        Shows how ignorant you are. The SAGE commission had meetings prior to the report being public. Therefore the public has NOT had the opportunity to provide any feedback to the government or the authors of the report since its publication.

        • Double Standards says:

          I wish the PLP, during these meetings, would advise the public exactly how we got into this situation and why the tough decisions must be made now.

          Or at least explain to the people why the pension fund has been not been audited since 2005 and how they allowed them to become underfunded in to the tune of billions of dollars.

          Think they will be truthful?

          • LR says:

            Given that some of the “Overspending” that the OBA talks about was the PLP propping up the pension funds, I think you may be barking up the wrong tree.

            • Sandy Bottom says:

              I don’t remember the PLP holding meetings to tell us what a mess it was making of the country’s finances.

            • Bermuda Male says:

              So why did the PLP fail to autos the NCP fund since 2005 and why are all pension funds so severely underfunded.

              Pretty sure all that happened in their reign, so it is definitely the correct tree to bark up.

              Ruff ruff.

        • Sandy Bottom says:

          Sage cmmission held meetings, got feedback, then issued a report. Now you want meetings to get feedback on the report they produced after getting feedback?

          Let me guess. You work for the civil service don’t you.

    • Hmmmm says:

      SAGE Commission did that …. I guess you weren’t Watching. Or you watch with your eyes closed and listening only PLP propaganda

    • Tell The Truth says:

      IMO it would have been more beneficial to have Dame Jennifer attend with the PLP. She was a part of the SAGE team and could have brought balance to the discussion.

  5. boogiedownproductions says:

    Why would you expect them to host meetings when the report has spoken for them. It’s a matter for us to weep and moan over it. Hopefully the Sage Chairman and his Morgans Point Company will stop asking the Tax payers for hand outs and give something back to the Community by spending their own monies up on that project.

  6. Victor says:

    Every time these clowns open their mouths, another few hundred thousand of investment evaporates – overseas but also small local guys considering how to place their capital. The reality is our economic destiny is now being governed by the knowledge that their is a strong possibility these unreformed, unrepentant incompetents will be back running things in less than four years. Come on OBA, it is not just about planning forward – what brought the country to this economic abyss must be exposed in all its detail.

    • LR says:

      You don’t like democracy much do you?

      • Victor says:

        I’ve voted in every election since 1985 and embrace democracy wholeheartedly, warts and all.

  7. Victor says:

    sorry, their should read there…

  8. Triangle Drifter says:

    Great idea! Tax the wealthy extra because they buy more stuff like boats. They can afford it. Think again. The UBP learned that lesson the hard way.

    They upped the import duty to 50% on boats. What happened? The importation of boats was drastically reduced. There comes a point where people say “No, I am not giving that much to Government”. People who can afford large boats & might like to keep them here don’t. They refuse to pay the duty on those expensive boats. Those boats stay overseas & all of the money that could be paid to Government through wages etc. to support those boats stays overseas. Very shortsighted on Governments part.

    How much thought is given by people at these meetings before they spout off simplistic ideas that simply will not work?

    • Luxury tax? says:

      The US tried it as well – they implemented a luxury tax on yachts in 1993 – end result was they destroyed at least 30,000 jobs.

      • Suzie Quattro says:

        It’s called the Laffer Curve. It describes the relationship between taxation rates and their effect on ultimate government revenue.

        The idea of increasing taxation for the purpose of keeping deadbeat public employees in cushy jobs would not be very popular.

  9. Vote for Me says:

    @ Triangle Drifter
    Not every idea at any of these meeting (or in the SAGE report) is practicl to implement. The goal should be to hear all suggestions and to then decide which can be implemented.

    One idea that seems to be suggested is to tax the existing wealth of individuals. For me that is a non starter. Suggestions about possible part time Ministers or reviwing the tax structure make more sense.

    Without public forums, we will not get to hear the good ideas that may be amongst the bad.

    Overall, I think these forums are good because no other forums have been held since the SAGE report was released.

    • Hmmmm says:

      Are you qualified to understand the rammifications of certain decisions? Perhaps if you voted PLP in the last election, you should NOT be involved as you are hell bent on destruction of this country and it’s people’s future as witnessed by your vote.

  10. swing voter says:

    meanwhile I’m employed in the private sector, but forced to pay into a broken public pension system because the law says I have to…I hate that bull-shyte cuz its fundamentally wrong. The government suck the fund dry, robbing the private sector contributors (peter) to pay for useless govt. expenses (paul)

    • LR says:

      Actually you are incorrect. The Government does not and cannot touch the funds that are set aside for pension.

      You may be thinking on the USA, but that doesn’t happen in Bermuda. Sorry. .

      • Nick says:

        @LR The problem isn’t that Gov’t can or cannot take from the pension fund. The problem is that when the pension fund runs dry (and it will by 2043 if nothing is addressed) it will have to be funded from the Superannuation Fund thus removing money that should be going towards Education, Health Care, Police, Financial assistance, etc. See p.15 of the SAGE report for a concise overview of the pension situation.

  11. Ex PLP voter says:

    The PLP placed everyone’s livelihood at risk.As they spent millions$ on themselves in the form of govt contracts.There is no money left for poor people and those that need social assistance.The old govt did not care about the people that put them in power.Now the propagandists in their party are blaming the new govt for the unfortunate situation we are in.Most people will not go to these BS meetings,as they know it is nothing but political propanda to get the PLP back in power.

    • Victor says:

      And not even an apology to boot – the PLP’s greatest betrayal was and remains to those many loyal supporters who waited decades for their party to have the opportunity to govern.

  12. Winnie Dread says:

    Set the building ablaze, then turn up as the supposed firefighters. Why should we listen to what you have to say now,after all you were trusted to run the country for 14 years annnnnndddddddd?

  13. Ringmaster says:

    At least the PLP is consistent with their view that there are between 1,700 and 2,000 excess people on the Government payroll. This confirms that there are major savings to be made. If the new revenue streams put forward by the PLP were feasible they will provide the jobs for these excess people. They can be the trailblazers to go sea bed mining (borrow some Hartley helmets and W & E shovels), taking the fees as satellites fly overhead and all the other ideas for new revenue the PLP dream up. A win win situation.

  14. Observer says:

    Wow,unbelievable the PLP pretending they have answers to the helter skelter they created.

  15. Jim Bean says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA – PLP IS A JOKE