Chamber’s “Wishlist” For Upcoming Budget

February 17, 2016

“The only way to continue to reduce the budget deficit is to work at both increasing revenues and reducing expenses simultaneously,” Chamber of Commerce President John Wight said.

Speaking in advance of Friday’s upcoming budget, Mr Wight said, “Government has a very challenging job to narrow the 2016 / 2017 year deficit in order to meet its self-imposed mandate announced in the first budget following their election victory in 2012 to balance the budget in 3 years.

“The only way to continue to reduce the budget deficit is to work at both increasing revenues and reducing expenses simultaneously. While this may not be popular with certain businesses, particularly those who will be affected the greatest by the new changes Government has no choice but to act responsibly and appropriately.

“One of Government’s many challenges in the budget is to be seen to be having the pain felt equitably throughout all segments of our population. This will not be an easy task especially given the increasing levels of inequality.

“Bermuda’s debt currently stands at $2.1 billion. If one considers guarantees and other unfunded healthcare schemes and pensions, debt could amount to as much as $7 billion. Budget deficits and the high debt jeopardize economic growth for Bermuda.

“Business confidence and economic diversity are critical for future job creation. Measured and appropriate reductions in Government spending can promote stability and confidence. We have a long way to go before we start to experience the prosperity that Bermudians want to see.

“We will conclude after the budget whether we agree with Government’s plan towards a balanced budget that is so critical to Bermuda’s economic future.”

Kendaree Burgess, Executive Director, provided the following wish list of items that the Divisions of the Chamber of Commerce want to see in the Minister’s budget;

  • Retail, restaurants and hotels wants to see the continuation of the Payroll Tax credits with an agreement not to reinstate overnight
  • Real Estate want no increases in the license fees paid by PRC’s and non-Bermudians
  • The East End Division want to know that ta comprehensive transportation plan is created for St George with a specific budget and time line for addressing Swing Bridge
  • Business Technology & Bermuda’s Emerging Professionals [ BEPRO] want to see funding for students and educational programmes
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Comments (4)

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  1. Jus' Askin' says:

    You’ll be better off giving Your Wish List to Santa ;-)

  2. Lois Frederick says:

    I agree with much of what is expressed here but there seems to be one glaring error. While the intention of the OBA was to try and balance the budget by 2017, that date has since been revised by the Finance Minister. From what I remember they are aiming for a balanced budget by 2019. This target is still considered optimistic even by the financial panel enlisted by the Finance Minister, but still a goal well worth reaching for. We should all hope and pray this is achieved.

  3. sage says:

    “The only way to continue to reduce the budget deficit is to work at both increasing revenues and reducing expenses simultaneously,” Chamber of Commerce President John Wight said. So, our wish list consists of things that simultaneously ensure revenues are not increased (Retail, restaurants and hotels wants to see the continuation of the Payroll Tax credits with an agreement not to reinstate overnight
    Real Estate want no increases in the license fees paid by PRC’s and non-Bermudians), and expenses are not reduced (The East End Division want to know that a comprehensive transportation plan is created for St George with a specific budget and time line for addressing Swing Bridge
    Business Technology & Bermuda’s Emerging Professionals [ BEPRO] want to see funding for students and educational programs).

  4. MPs should take another ten percent drop in pay. I shudder at some of the salaries advertised for some govt positions. Its a sin n a shame that the least paid persons feel the hit the hardest and they are probably the most loyal and dedicated employees. All misappropriated funds need to be paid back into the govt putse. Maybe then the least paid persons might have a chance of saving a dollar and keeping their homes,not to mention being able to buy healthy food for their families. I pray that God will prick the conscious of those who have misued funds at the expense of the less fortunate.