Full Text: PLP’s Reply To 2015-2016 Budget

February 27, 2015

Shadow Finance Minister David Burt delivered the Progressive Labour Party’s official response to the 2015 Budget in the House of Assembly today [Feb 27], where he urged the Government to get serious about diversification, regulate ‘payday lenders’ who are charging interest rates of 260%, move on the decriminalisation of cannabis, reform the banking system, and well as putting forward various suggestions to help the economy.

Extracts, and the full speech, are posted below, and the charts extracted from the Reply are here.

Introduction

There are no easy decisions going forward. As the government in waiting, we know that we cannot be all things to all people and we are prepared to make the tough choices that are necessary to build a better future for Bermuda. The situation at hand requires ideas and a vision for the future. Shortterm fixes and short-term stimulus are not enough. What we require is a fundamental transformation of our economy; and on that measure, again, the One Bermuda Alliance Budget has come up short. While there is a concerted effort to reduce the deficit, the OBA seems to be content with tackling the symptoms and not fixing the problem – a broken and unbalanced economy that continues to shrink.

Effect Of Last Year’s Budget

We have all felt the effects of last year’s budget; we’ve seen joblessness rise, visitor arrivals fall, businesses close and our infrastructure continue to crumble. But, Mr. Speaker, the best indicator of the Minister of Finance’s poor decision making is in the results. With his aggressive cuts, the Minister expected the deficit to be $267 million. The Minister is now forecasting a deficit of $300 million – which is greater than the deficit proposed by the PLP’s alternate budget proposed last year. This should serve to remind us, Mr. Speaker, that not even this Minister of Finance can change the laws of economics: his cuts weakened the economy, his cuts helped revenues collapse, his cuts pushed visitor numbers to decline and his cuts led to a wider deficit than expected.

In 2013, the Minister boldly declared that we would borrow $800 million to “prefund” our deficits. The logic was simple according to the Minister: the Government would borrow a lot of money in 2013 to hedge against the risk of interest rates rising and having to go back to the markets in 2014 when interest rates were higher. At the time, we described the Minister’s action as a risky bet that for the country’s sake we hoped would pay off. Mr. Speaker, unfortunately interest rates did not rise as predicted and 10 year interest rates today are lower than they were in July of 2013. The Minister made this transaction in the hopes of saving the Government money, but as of now, and given that our notes have a fixed rate of interest, it seems that it may cost the taxpayer more money than if we would have gone back to the market on an annual basis.

Chart extracted from the PLP’s Budget Reply:

PLP 2015 Reply to Budget charts (3)

Morgan’s Point

We raise a flag of caution as we understand the government has extended a $160 million guarantee to the Ritz Reserve development at Morgan’s Point. Mr. Speaker, when you go to the bank to get a loan, the banker doesn’t ask you for a guarantor if he feels you have the ability to repay the money. It is only when there is a question of your creditworthiness that a guarantor is requested. Therefore, it should be very concerning that the government is guaranteeing this private project.

Mr. Speaker, if the team at Morgan’s Point are having a challenge in raising the funds necessary, it is likely for a good reason. The fact that the OBA is putting the taxpayers on the hook for $160 million for a private hotel development is troubling, as the government should not be in the business of building hotels.

Mr. Speaker, we wish no ill will to the developers at Morgan’s Point; however, if a government guarantee is extended in this case, it opens the door for other developers to ask for the same treatment and exposes the government to a $160 million liability should the project be unsuccessful.

Diversification

2014 was a bad year for tourism as we saw air arrivals sink to the lowest level since 1966. This, however, should come as no surprise as last year saw government spending on tourism promotion dip to the lowest level in 34 years.

For the last 2 years I have stood on my feet on this occasion and implored the government to get serious about diversification. Last week, the Minister revealed his novel plan for diversification, and that was to grow the tourism industry!

That is not a plan for diversification; that is a necessity. Bermuda needs more than two industries, so the fact that the OBA’s diversification plan is limited to growing the tourism sector despite our significant cost disadvantage should be a signal to all that the OBA does not understand the vital need to diversify our economy. Mr. Speaker, we will touch on diversification later, but suffice it to say that the PLP does not believe that tourism will be enough to diversify our economy.

America’s Cup

The America’s Cup is an excellent opportunity for Bermuda and the government should be proud 16 Bermuda Progressive Labour Party – 2015/16 Budget Reply of their accomplishment on behalf of the people of this country. This is an important event and the America’s Cup Event Authority should know that we in the Progressive Labour Party will do all we can to assist the government in ensuring that this America’s Cup is the best one ever. This event is also a great opportunity to showcase our island to people in the world that have the capacity to invest in Bermuda.

We do await more clarity from the Minister of Economic Development as to how the government arrived at a figure of $250 million in economic impact, however we have no doubt that the $77 million that has been pledged to the America’s Cup will generate a return on investment. It is important that the economic impact from hosting this event is felt across the community, and the PLP will hold the government to account by ensuring fair tendering in contracts and value for money with taxpayer funds.

Banking Reform

It is a fact that Bermuda’s banks are under-lent, and as the Minister stated last week, local bank lending is now at a seven year low! Banks play a vital part in our local economy and this lack of lending is restricting economic activity and hampering our ability to emerge from the recession. The Minister has our full support in his drive to reform the banking system, as it is vital for our economic recovery that banks fulfil the important role required in our economy. We look forward to hearing more details of his plans and stand ready to participate in any discussions on this topic.

Consumption Taxes

Our current system taxes goods in our economy but does not directly tax services. As the Minister of Finance has stated, the vast majority of our consumption is in services. In looking at tax reform, some in Bermuda have recommended that we adopt a Value Added Tax [VAT]. The PLP is of the view that the likely administrative burden resulting from the implementation of a VAT system would not be good for our economy.

Additionally, given the nature of our economy and our heavy reliance on imports, there is very little “value added” in the local domestic economy that would warrant a VAT. However, there are other models of consumption taxes that may be feasible in Bermuda and we look forward to the public consultation that the Minister is promising. One thing, however, must be said, Mr. Speaker; any consumption tax must not increase the tax burden on those who can least afford it.

Payroll Tax Concessions

We welcome the Minister’s call to begin to eliminate the payroll tax concessions enjoyed by the hotel, restaurant, and retail sectors. In what is a theme of our reply, it seems the Minister took to heart what we said last year, even after he disagreed with us, and is now following the lead of the PLP. Mr. Speaker, it bears repeating that when these concessions were first introduced they only cost the government $2.2 million a year – however this figure has now swelled to $30 million a year.

Though these concessions are a quick and simple policy tool for short-term support, when they remain in place for extended periods of time, they can cause distortions in the economy and reduce an economy’s efficiency and productivity. Businesses must be able survive while fulfilling their tax obligations. If we have companies that are surviving based upon these temporary tax concessions alone, this can indicate that the business owners have not made the necessary adjustments to make their business competitive. Productivity is required for economic growth, and the move to end these concessions is the right one.

Though we support this move, we are disturbed that the Minister set the rate in such a manner that employers can claw back all of the payroll tax from their employees. We do not think that is fair or just, and we urge the Minister to ensure that the end to these concessions is shared appropriately between employer and employee.

Debt Collection Reform

Many Bermudians, as a result of losing their jobs, now fear being sent to prison for debt. Our current system damages the family unit, makes criminals of the unemployed, and creates more harm than good. Stories about persons avoiding medical care for fear of being jailed for debts have no place in a society like ours.

We again call for the OBA to support the PLP bill that will cease the practice of imprisoning people for their civil debts. At the same time, the government should continue the work started by the PLP and improve the regulation of debt collection agencies. These agencies in many ways compound problems resulting from the poor economy by using the courts to heap additional debt upon distressed debtors

Regulate Payday Lenders

As a result of our economic challenges a new type of company has found a home in Bermuda – and that is the payday lender. These companies prey on the desperate and those who may not understand the full extent of what they are getting themselves into. Payday lenders in Bermuda are lending money and charging interest at the rate of 260%. Yes, Mr. Speaker, you heard me correctly - 260%.

This cannot be right, and we have a duty and obligation to put an end to this predatory practice. In some parts of the United States, payday lending is a violation of racketeering laws while in others it is a violation of criminal usury laws. Many other states limit annual interest rates to 30%. The United Kingdom has also recently enacted laws to reign in payday lenders. We urge the OBA to take action on this issue and put in place regulation to curtail those who would lend to those who may be in a tough situation at the extraordinary rate of 260%.

Decriminalisation of Cannabis

The OBA’s lack of movement on the issue of decriminalisation of cannabis for yet another year remains a campaign promise unfulfilled and an example of the government showing unwillingness to deal with an issue of public concern head on. Despite there being cross party support for decriminalisation, government actions are hollow.

This too is an issue of fairness as black people in our society are far more likely than whites to be arrested, charged and convicted for cannabis possession. The criminalisation of our citizens for minor, non-violent possession is an open sore on our society, damaging already destroyed lives of hundreds of Bermudians, young and old. Many have been obstructed from years of real opportunity to improve their lives and that of their families. The PLP’s bill for decriminalisation was decried by the government, but to date we have seen nothing from them as an alternative.

From a budget position, decriminalisation has a fiscal advantage of allowing resources and manpower within law enforcement which is used to investigate, pursue, apprehend and prosecute individuals for minor cannabis possession to be re-deployed to deal with other areas such as violent crime, domestic violence, commercial crime and community outreach. Decriminalisation makes good social policy and fiscal sense. This will open the door for government to explore the possibility of revenue opportunities in the long-term with cannabis being regulated and appropriately taxed. There is an opportunity to align our social policy with fiscal policy; we should not delay in taking the appropriate steps to do so.

The full PLP Reply to the Budget is below [PDF here]

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Comments (82)

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  1. serengeti says:

    Debt Collection reform – nothing to do with the budget.
    Regulate payday lenders – nothing to do with the budget.
    Decriminalisation of cannabis – nothing to do with the budget.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      That is pretty much the theme of this response, as with everything the PLP produces, it is about gloss and spin. From the cover, with the catchy ‘Vision 2025′ and various catch phrases, to a speckling of a few insightful notions with no substance of implementation, and it is essentially padded with a whole lot of political postulating. Their usual great insight about factor now hindsight and catchy phrases only carry any real weight or purpose so long as they actual provide substance. Course they won’t really do that, cause then they would have to admit that notions like a balanced economy actually only exist in the ethereal reality of a absolute perfect world in the minds of philosophers. Even after this budget, I would still take Richard’s over Burt, cause at least I know Richard’s lives with his head in reality, and is focused on addressing that reality. It is always tragically humorous to hear how that after 14 years of zero effective economic management, they have suddenly discovered how to make everything better; in the meantime, there are a couple thousand unemployed, still waiting to hear an apology from the PLP for setting this train down the track to begin with.

      • BetttyTrump says:

        The Brilliance of MP Burt. AN EXCELLENT REPLY TO THE BUDGET. WHAT WAS OUTSTANDING IS THAT HE NOT ONLY PROVIDED PRAISE, but critical analysis as well and excellent Ideas to grow and jump start our economy.

        Well done Burt. Keep working on behalf of Bermuda. Burt is admired by many.

        Now ignore the paid bloggers of the OBA….
        Expect their comments. But I hope they will examine the ideas you have brought forward in an attempt to grow our Revenue streams and Ecomony.

        Well done again Burt.

        • Strike fund says:

          He’s also a dab hand at editing DVDs.

          One could say he’s halfway to plagiarism. Cutting without the pasting.

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          I’m a paid blogger now?? Kind of an ironic statement from the Betty Troop. Suppose I should inquire, the extra money would be good.

          Back to the point, if Mr. Burt’s response is so good, why does he not back his notions with actual numbers, one’s that aren’t past statistics. He promises so many great inovative notions, with provisions for cost, but at the same time provides no numbers for costs to implement, but promises to still decrease spending, while implementing policies that will put more pressure on the private sector that would lead to more business closures, more loss to tax revenues. And more disturbing, he still seems to have an issue calculating profit at the airport… how can somewhere that at last figures only generates around $1m in profit, suddenly generate $11m in profit with a $15 departure tax increase?? We will not lose $1b in profit if the airport is managed by a foreign company, because revenue is not profit… how can someone continually call someone that is supposed to be the finance minister in waiting, brilliant, when they continually fail to produce an accurate profit number through the simple process of removing expenditure from revenue?? But one misrepresented figure in Mr. Burt’s response.

          • Build a Better Bermuda says:

            5th line was supposed to read ‘with no provisions for cost’

            • Moojun says:

              If the crew that put this together are so brilliant, then why did they misspell “America’s Cup” right on the cover of the report? Great attention to detail PLP.

              • Ringmaster says:

                I’ve read through David Burt’s “brilliant” response but there must be pages missing. While he talks about diversifying the economy and raising revenue by for example taxing marijuana, I don’t see the numbers that show how much it will cost to implement each idea; how many jobs each will create; how long it will take before revenues are seen and what are the projected revenues on annual basis, and starting when? Can someone paste the missing pages or post the complete reply?

                • Coffee says:

                  Did Bob Under The Hood just raise payroll taxes ? Will there be a further erosion of IB jobs as a result ?

        • Lebron says:

          Ok, we’ve been through this. Firstly he’s about a week late.

          Secondly everyone knows the OBA are making a fair fist of cleaning up the mess made by the other lot.

          That’s about it folks. I’ll have a beer please.

        • It's about time! says:

          I posted this further below…but this one is for the Bettys to stew on…LOFL!

          Between 2004 and 2013 the PLP increased Government revenue from $706m to $867m which is a 23% increase. Over the same time period the PLP increased Government expenditure from $721m to $1.275b, which is a 77% rise. So in the space of ten years the PLP successfully tripled our expenditures when compared to revenue increases, which in turn increased our national budget deficit from $15m to $408m, which is a 2,620% jump. But, of course, the PLP doesn’t have any role in our current financial quagmire. So the OBA came into power with an inherited $408M deficit, which cannot be resolved overnight as the actions required would simply have brought the economy to a complete halt. Hence the “glide path” put forward by the SAGE Commission and adopted by the OBA.
          In order for our massive deficit to be closed as of now, it would require the OBA to raise an additional 47 per cent of revenues on top of the $867m recorded as at March 31, 2013. Do you revenue raising/anti-cut advocates think that the OBA, or any Party, can magically raise this out of thin air in the middle of a recession? Let me put it in perspective for you. Between 1999 (the PLP’s first budget) revenues were $546m while at their last budget (2013), as noted, the revenue was $867m.
          So over their 14-year period of governance the PLP were only able to raise revenues by $321m or 59 per cent or $23M per year. But somehow some people think the OBA can magically increase revenues by approximately 50 per cent after two years of being in power?

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          One of his most dangerous suggestions is his answer to Healthcare, the PLP proposal to allow foreign insurers to come in a compete in our market is possibly the worst idea they could spout. Sure, sounds nice, completion in the market… until you look at the reality, part of which is that they would not be able to do negotiate lower payout rates to providers, as those are a mandated set schedule from government, so this means the only way for them to cut costs in personnel. Why would they keep a high local staffing, when they already have an army of customer service, underwriting, actuarial… staff overseas. The local companies set to the same rules would lose out, as their staff is based here and the ultimate result is companies either closed or brought out and massive layoffs… in short more money going to companies overseas, less tax revenues and higher demand on financial assistance. Again the PLP would rather propose catchy, shiny notions that are shortsighted and dangerous to our economy and the Bermudians that are employed in it. The local insurance industry is probably one of the largest private local employers of Bwrmudians and any measures to change its dynamic MUST be done with care and a long view.

          • Kangoocar says:

            @build, no worries from this boneheaded idea from plp/Burt!!! It will never happen, and this is why once again the plp/Burt are proven to be amateurs at what they are doing!!! There is NO insurance company elsewhere that would be even remotely interested in our SMALL market!!! In the US you have health insurers that drop 100, 000′s of insured persons at a time because they don’t like the risk factors they have from certain areas!!! This market is to small, end of story!!!
            Just more empty rhetoric to fill up space on a budget reply speech??? Burt/plp are just proving once again that the only thing they are good at, they are the master of nonsense!!!! All this from a party that can’t even spell the Americas Cup correctly???

    • Sy Anne Ide says:

      Anyone find it funny that althogh this was a response to the Budget, they spent more time and effort on decriminalization of cannabis? See for yourself, scroll up! LMAO Did nobody read this before it was published.

      Where are the ideas,constructive criticisms, alternatives, improvements, and the examples showing what they (the PLP)did in the past that worked! If there are any.

      I believe a strong opposition is good for any country. I wish we had that. I did vote for both the UBP and PLP back when we each had two votes and Ive also voted PLP two elections ago.

      However, if this is te best they can come up with after one week, I am disappointed. Did they not understand the objective here? All I can do is shake my head.

  2. Strike fund says:

    I thought their response would be,

    “What’s a budget?”

    • Onion says:

      I laughed IRL. Well done.

      • @ Building a Better Bermuda. Your question / remarks are hitting the proverbial “nail upon its head.”
        ” We will not lose $1b in profit if the airport is managed by a foreign company, because revenue is not profit…How can someone continually call someone that is supposed to be the Finance Minister in waiting “brilliant” when they continually fail to produce an accurate profit number through the simple process of removing expenditure from revenue?

        • “Senator recommends privatization of government services”

          (My, my, my as Joe Brown would say :-) )
          P.S. Note the dates)

          (Updated Mar 16, 2011
          (Related Stories)

          “Junior Finance Minister David Burt suggested today that the Government should consider privatizing some of its services in order to inject “much needed innovation” into the economy.
          He told the Senate candidates for privatization could include Public Transport, Postal Services, Waste Collection, Waste Treatment, Water and Recycling.”
          Doesn’t this sound contrary to the “here and now” remarks made by Mr. David Burt?

          • Truth Teller says:

            The word is that Raymond Ray should be able to purchase a top end condo in Miami soon from the money he has made as a paid blogger for the UBP/OBA over the last three years.

            • Creamy says:

              Isn’t that libellous?

            • If you believe this “fictitious character” who has chosen to sign their name as “Truth Teller” and not having confidence in their statements / innuendos does say a great deal about that person :-(
              By the way, I do support the One Bermuda Alliance for what I see them doing for us all…They’re helping to “up-right a sinking ship” i.e. “M.V. Bermuda”. Whether or not everyone supports the O.B.A. is matter of opinion and we’ve heard the story about everyone having an opinion and what that’s like about something else everyone has… :-) Right?

  3. sswhite says:

    Let the show begin…

  4. sswhite says:

    I think sending people to prison for debt aggregation is the most asinine thing I’ve heard of. How in the hell does that help?

    Regardless of what Dunkley contends people go to prison for debt – NOT CONTEMPT OF COURT – they would not be in court in the first place if the stupid law did not exist – this is a UBP/PLP?OBA problem. Get it done!

    • Innit says:

      It’s called, living within your means…

      If you can’t afford it, don’t purchase!

      • another day in ......... says:

        Whilst I agree with the point you are making, you must take note that many of the persons who find themselves in this position (not all) are there as a result of medical expenses. Unless you want people to choose death. Then you think of all the unemployed people who don’t have insurance and are in need of medical care.. terrible situation.

      • ivory tower says:

        lets hope you don’t lose your job and have a hard time supporting your outstanding commitments

      • Never Never says:

        @Innit Now that is truly an asinine comment open your eyes not everything is black and white grow up SMDH

      • Creamy says:

        Looks like you struck a nerve there.

        The banks should be lending more money, says Burt the videographer, but we should make sure thst people don’t have to repay those debts.

    • Sy Anne Ide says:

      You don’t get thrown in jail ,just becausee you can’t pay your bills. Companies try and work with people to have them pay for the things they purchased and consumed on credit and have not paid for. Some chose to do the right thing and pay what they can. Others play games by hiding,not answering phones, changing email adresses and lie about when they will pay.

      You get thrown in jail after everyone including the courts have already tried to work with you but you still choose to ignore your resposibilities. At that point you need to be taught a lesson.

      If you owe child support and know you do and wont pay but you somehow find the money for the newest iPhone, vacation, Flat Screen TV, well you deserve jail time as a punishment.

      Jail has always been a LAST resort, not a first choice! Should we go back to breaking knee caps?

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      It is important to note, that less people have been imprisoned for this reason during the OBA than during the PLP, I do not agree with the practice in general, but think that ther should be definite course for potential garnishing or asset freezes against those who practice to deceive, particularly for delinquent child support payees, whether father or mother. Greater consideration should also be given to rights of responsible fathers in custody cases as well.

  5. Sky Pilot says:

    Not interested in anything the plp have to say unless it’s WE QUIT!

    • mixitup says:

      Well you surely clicked onto the story and commented… Makes you really look uninterested, doesn’t it.

  6. BT Checker says:

    There are some good ideas in the full reply (along with the normal political posturing and nonsense).

  7. chip says:

    Mr.Burt the right man for the job ? Keep fighting for the people

  8. Scotty says:

    Surely if they have all the answers we would not be in the position, we currently find ourselves in. Sorry PLP, your suggestions are redundant.

    • PBanks says:

      To be fair, if they just sat back and said nothing, that would be completely pointless. At least by providing a response and outlining suggestions, people can digest, dissect and debate the individual items on their merit.

      • another day in ......... says:

        now come on, rationale and reason has no place in the midst of OBA supporters.

      • Onion says:

        Yeah, but the PLP can’t credibly campaign against fixing problems that they created.

        Also, this whole “long term plan” is 180 degrees opposed to the way the PLP actually governed. When they were in government they constantly lurched from one short-sighted emergency to the next and the end result is where we are now: massive debt, long-term recession, etc.

      • Sickofantz says:

        Please define the suggestions?

  9. watching says:

    I think this reply is great. MP Burt has delivered some great options for this government to consider. He has made some sound recommendations.
    I think its a very good budget reply.

    • serengeti says:

      There’s nothing clever about saying ‘spend more on this, spend more on that’. Any idiot can do that.

      • ivory tower says:

        Where does he say spend more on this spend more on that? I believe that is your myopia misleading you. I know the number of a good eye doctor if you need…

    • Sickofantz says:

      What are the sound recommendations?

  10. Sandgrownan says:

    That wasn’t a budget reply, it was the same old tired talking points rehashed (no pun intended). No alternatives, no plan, nothing.

    Still no apology either.

    • another day in ......... says:

      I apologize for the global recession that has affected the majority of the countries in the world, bar China.

      • Creamy says:

        Ah. The great PLP recession myth.

      • Sy Anne Ide says:

        The coutries affected are those that wasted and spent! For example the USA suffered while Canada did just fine! Same examples exist in Caribbean, Europe and Asia.

        We are in the position we are in because:

        1)The PLP spent and wasted money?
        2)The PLP paid out eight hundred million dollars in money that nobody can account for? Where did it go.
        3) The PLP treated international businesses badly and with no respect. Companies did not close because they went bankrupt! They moved entirely, or moved much of their staff elsewhere because other jurisdictions treated them better.
        4) the PLP had no plan and judging by ttodays response, they still don’t!

      • Sandgrownan says:

        Myth

  11. Chingas says:

    LOL @ the PLP

  12. Truth is killin' me... says:

    Who wrote this for ya boy. Consultants on the PLP payroll!?

  13. Bullseye says:

    There is no Blue Economy. the ships have literally sailed and found nothing in minerals. We cannot export fish for we cannot compete with the big boys. Our fish would be overpriced and spoil, and our reliability would suffer due to weather. As it is Bermuda imports more fish than we catch!! Now you want to export?

    The Green ecomony? Got to love these color references. Let’s spend a ton of money in order to save some money making long term bets on technology that is rapidly changing…… TERRIBLE idea. Anything you install now will be obsolete in 10 years which is the earliest point you could hope to achieve any savings, and meanwhile you are spending money you don’t have now.

    Decriminalise weed – well the likelihood of this bringing alot of new money to Bermuda is very small. Tax it and and the guy on the street will still sell it for less. the underground market for weed is still thriving in Colorado. Speaking of Colorado other states are following suit so by this magical “2025″ date weed will be as highly prized as oregano. Where’s your money then? Oh but of course Govt. will have a new Weed Dept. with new laws and new employees and standards and uniforms and regulations etc etc etc…

    Online gaming sounds great, albeit late for we see what other islands did. How will our new gaming laws accommodate this possibility, and is the market saturated?

    New trading partners? As one involved in trade this is crushed due to logistical costs much like our export of fish. It is far too expensive to get goods in and out of Bermuda. Expanding trade to even further away when it is in fact one way trade in our partners favor is not an idea that really says anything about a long-term benefit to Bermuda.

    Crown Corporations would still be Govt funded – this is just moving the pieces around which would just cost more money to restructure while having the same players. No gain, in fact it’s a cost.

    Create a Bermuda Fund! Sounds awesome! Where’s that magic money wand… someone call Paula.

    Technology Incubator – fancy name but already being pursued and alot harder without a University and alot of home-grown intellectual capital which we are lacking.

    Invest in infrastructure – has anyone found the magic money wand yet?

    I see nothing in all this but posturing and money spending.

    • Sickofantz says:

      So right their are no workable ideas here.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        There are one or two potentials, nothing I would stake the recovery of our economy, but have the potential in a long run, with time, investment and careful development there could but some return, but not the returns that the PLP advertise them to have. And certainly not with the PLP’s penchant for poorly written and shortsighted legislation.

  14. Huh says:

    Lest we forget:- 1998 – 2012 – 14 Years of PLP economic terror.

  15. Bermyman says:

    Is Bean’s betting shop not essentially preying on the same people as payday loans?

    • Ringmaster says:

      An interesting question. Pay Day loans make money and the person needing their services lose. Conversely Marc Bean’s Betting Shop boasts that “everyone wins”. Impossible, but maybe it is an insight into PLP’s financial acumen?

  16. Ed Case says:

    …because things would be so much better under the PLP right?

    Bin there, done that. Fourteen years of PLP overspending and incompetence.

  17. Onion says:

    I had to laugh when he attacked the PLP’s immigration laws.

    Still completely in denial about how Bermuda got in this mess.

    The PLP are in a hard spot because any even vaguely sensible budget reply requires acknowledging the basic reality that Bermuda is headed to disaster and every extra dollar borrowed is another dollar toward the cliff.

    Also, let’s not forget that the PLP’s last budget forecast a $176 million deficit but ended up with a $407 million deficit.

  18. swing voter says:

    yup we broke it….you fix it

  19. chip says:

    The past is the past and let’s move forward or get left behind if nothing changes fast oba going to leave u with paddle and u know what u got to do with that? Lmao I shouldn’t have to tell u what to do with it

  20. chip says:

    Why is America cup? In Bermuda in the first place ? A b c 123 ?

    • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

      for those that ask this question…i think the answer would be too complex for the feeble mind to comprehend…(A+B)=C.

  21. No longer a member says:

    When we were in Government, we were warned and we scorned at the message. I have had enough, that is why I am no longer a member, and from today onward, no longer listening to a certain radio. How bias can a person be??? I guess if you tell lies long enough, people will believe it as truth. I hope that program doesn’t one day insight people to do things we will regret for the rest of our lives.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      I am still in disbelief that he still claims we will lose over a $1b in revenue from the airport… I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, how can we expect to trust someone to run our economy/government finances when he either doesn’t know how to formulate profit from revenue and expenditure, or is willing to deliberately misrepresent it to make the numbers argue for his favour.

  22. YoungBermy says:

    Wow buh at least the opposition has ways of making us less backwards minded I mean come on bermuda is crap now we need these things instead of the old bs that didn’t even work when our economy was booming

  23. jt says:

    This is even weaker than anticipated.

  24. Navin Johnson says:

    I stopped reading at “as the government in waiting” may you wait until heel freezes over

  25. Art says:

    rubbish!

  26. Common Sense says:

    Bermuda’s economy got hit by two major disasters; the recession and the PLP incompetence and greed. We probably could have survived either; but both at the same time may be too much for us.

  27. It's about time! says:

    Chew on this you sheeple….

    Between 2004 and 2013 the PLP increased Government revenue from $706m to $867m which is a 23% increase. Over the same time period the PLP increased Government expenditure from $721m to $1.275b, which is a 77% rise. So in the space of ten years the PLP successfully tripled our expenditures when compared to revenue increases, which in turn increased our national budget deficit from $15m to $408m, which is a 2,620% jump. But, of course, the PLP doesn’t have any role in our current financial quagmire. So the OBA came into power with an inherited $408M deficit, which cannot be resolved overnight as the actions required would simply have brought the economy to a complete halt. Hence the “glide path” put forward by the SAGE Commission and adopted by the OBA.
    In order for our massive deficit to be closed as of now, it would require the OBA to raise an additional 47 per cent of revenues on top of the $867m recorded as at March 31, 2013. Do you revenue raising/anti-cut advocates think that the OBA, or any Party, can magically raise this out of thin air in the middle of a recession? Let me put it in perspective for you. Between 1999 (the PLP’s first budget) revenues were $546m while at their last budget (2013), as noted, the revenue was $867m.
    So over their 14-year period of governance the PLP were only able to raise revenues by $321m or 59 per cent or $23M per year. But somehow some people think the OBA can magically increase revenues by approximately 50 per cent after two years of being in power?

    • Onion says:

      Can we stop reposting this? Revenue rose to $996 million and then fell to $867. So not only are the PLP expecting the OBA to magically increase revenue, they are also expecting the the OBA to instantly reverse a massive decline.

  28. Bermuda123 says:

    David Burt is an intelligent man and he makes some good points here, albeit I do not believe his ideas for diversifying the economy will work in a practical sense. Some of his ideas on current actions to assist struggling Bermudians are good however – imprisonment for debt, payday lenders etc – I think and I hope the OBA takes them under advisement.

    Good ideas are still good no matter from where they come.

    However, the only people to drive the economy forward are the OBA and we all need to unreservedly support them until the next election at least.

    • Varied says:

      But doesn’t that call upon the same ‘blind faith’ that party supporters get accused of anyway?

      Support, sure. But still have to be willing to challenge when you feel they’re going astray.

    • Sickofantz says:

      Maybe betting shops should be closed down as they help drive people into debt?

  29. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    What has this got to do with the budget.

    EVERYTHING !

    That is if you want to put food on the table.

    Our visitors just want to come on a vacation to have FUN and a good time.

    Va.ca.tion.

    A noun

    1) an extended period of recreation.
    2) The action of leaving some thing one previously occupied. WORK !

  30. The PLP had 14 years of running this country and proved with out a doubt they are not capable of running water in a bath tub properly .

  31. ridiculous says:

    Government in waiting!!!!
    That’s when I pack up and leave. I would hate to see the PLP back in power.

  32. Coffee says:

    Did Bob Under The Hood raise the hotels energy costs ?

  33. Alexis says:

    The problem I see in this small island,(Bermuda) is that we are filled with so much hate for each other because of one’s choice of political party. It should not be about this party or that party. It should be about how we all help our country, the people that call here home right know and the kids like me that read your comments online. We are so blinded with hate, that we cannot take good from the bad and use it to better ourselves. We are caught up in this crab’s bucket, hiding behind chosen names to spit our nasty venom on others, that may or may not deserved it. Well done, as we are the young people, that see the color of your heart and you are the adults that we are told to look up to for direction. I would love to not to see, black or white at my young age of twelve but would love to be able to say that was in the pass, we are in the future.
    Thank you Mommy and Daddy