Live Audio & Updates: Minister Delivers Budget

February 22, 2019 | 60 Comments

[Updating] Will there be new taxes? Are any fees being increased? Will there be any tax cuts or benefits? How will the spending be allocated to various Ministries? Those are some of the questions that will be answered today [Feb 22] as Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson delivers the 2019/20 Budget in the House of Assembly.

2019 Budget Live Updates TC

We will be covering the Budget as able, providing live updates as the Minister delivers the speech, as well as posting a copy of the full speech later on.

You can listen to audio above, we will do text based coverage as able, which is expected to begin at past 10.00am.

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Comments (60)

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  1. JohnnyB says:

    Hold onto your seats ladies and gentlemen, things are about to get interesting!

  2. sandgrownan says:

    Will it balance I wonder….

  3. watching says:

    “This fiscally prudent and balanced approach will move us towards a small Budget surplus and, consequently, a reduction in net debt”

    Well done Minister Dickinson & Premier Burt.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Ah..but will it? Let’s look at the detail….

    • question says:

      The ONLY reason they show a ‘surplus’ is because they are raiding the Sinking Fund to the tune of $188m. It’s like using your pension savings to pay off the monthly credit card bill.

      Anyone who thinks this is “fiscally prudent” is a moron.

  4. cho says:

    “government-backed mortgage lender to relieve pressure on public sector employees by providing them with reduced mortgage rates”

    That’s messed up – they already get benefits that are far better than mpst bermudians in private sector.

  5. sandgrownan says:

    “Minister: The most pressing threat to Bermuda’s international business sector and to Bermuda’s economy is the European Union’s [EU] list of “non-cooperative tax jurisdictions”

    Nope. Declining population and tax base.

  6. road rash says:

    backtrack on taxes good, but only because of the suspension of the sinking fund payment .. mmm

  7. sandgrownan says:

    There is a constant refrain in some quarters which speaks about the need to relax our immigration laws even further to boost the population in Bermuda. It is a simplistic argument which wilfully ignores the other economic challenges faced by Bermuda.

    Disingenuous.

    • Adklee says:

      I’ll tell you what is genuine though. This statement is a not-so-sly way of saying the PLP is not even thinking to tackle Immigration Reform.

  8. sandgrownan says:

    Last year’s increased investment in tourism marketing via the BTA, increased business marketing via the BDA and increased support for entrepreneurs via the BEDC have borne fruit

    Thank you OBA

  9. Town Rat says:

    Why are we not taxing the local banks more? Even just for one or two years to help reduce the debt. Most banks in the US are posting 5-8% return on equity but HSBC and BNTB are posting 22-25% Return on equity?! More than 3 times higher returns than large global banks…not sure why everyone is staying so silent on this issue. The banks are one of the main problems for economic growth. They increased their requirements for small business loans and new mortgages that have made it impossible for new entrepreneurs to start up or new first time homeowners to enter the market.
    The banks are holding our economy hostage with their interest rates.

  10. J Austen says:

    Ha ha ha, the Dunkley Pepsi Challenge Sugar Tax is being extended… couldn’t have happened to a nicer, more sincere guy. What goes around comes around…

    • Wowsers says:

      This right here.

    • sandgrownan says:

      It’s not a team sport you know. Christ, you’re the problem.

    • Kevin says:

      Austen
      thats almost as dumb a statement that could ever be made guess who is paying for the increase ..you and the rest of us ..bet you voted plp

      • J Austen says:

        Actually I did, mainly because of Bob Richard’s unbelievable nastiness and not wanting to hear the truth.
        That said, the intention of the tax is to dampen demand for unhealthy sugar products and encourage a more healthy diet – and tackle the severe diabetes problem the afflicts the country. Perhaps the Milkman could embrace this and start promoting such products – this could be the beginning something much more important than his political career…

        • sandgrownan says:

          With all due respect, which is little, when did you get to determine the direction of a private business? The intention of the tax is to penalize poor people and put cash in the coffers.

          You cannot legislate or tax people into being more healthy.

          • Just Say No says:

            Most days… About 70 people in fact.

          • Enough says:

            Well that’s the Premiers whole point!!! Who are we or the media to dictate what a private business does? Thanks for making the point valid!!

        • LaV says:

          “, mainly because of Bob Richard’s unbelievable nastiness”

          So, you voted for the nastier of the two parties, the one that wants’ to remove rights from some bermudians, the racist, xenophobic and homophobic party, the plp.

        • For Tour Info.... says:

          For your info “ milkman sells and promotes a wide range of healthy products…..milk for instance in addition to Aquafina water and Gatorade ( both made by Pepsi by the way).
          So you are way off base on this comment.

          • J Austen says:

            Pepsi of course makes plenty of healthy products – and plenty of not healthy ones when consumed excessively – Pepsi Cola for one, numerous other sodas, the whole range of Frito Lay snack foods, need I go on. By the way, I’m not so sure Gatorade is a healthy drink…

            As for the current Dunkley’s milk monopoly… imported milk would be cheaper and better, and the shortfall that is bridged with that Filled Milk rubbish could be done away with. I am wondering if the health department has ever run a chemical analysis of what is in Bermuda milk. I know what Round Up did to the frogs; I’m curious what it may be doing to the cows and people who drink local milk.

  11. Town Rat says:

    “Government will provide targeted payroll tax relief to specific businesses by providing a concessionary employer payroll tax rate of 7.0% for all retailers whose payroll is above $500,000 and whose primary sales are in fashion, shoes, jewellery and perfume.”

    So the wealthy Gibbons family gets a lower payroll tax rate over the new small startup retailers who actually make Bermuda’s retail scene fun and interesting?!

    Sounds backwards to me – it should be the reverse…

    • Adklee says:

      This was strange to me as well. It will be harder to reach the 500k mark if you keep taxing me down here at the bottom. It definitely seems like a reversal of the thinking behind tax reform.

  12. Wowsers says:

    I’d love to see a breakdown of cabinet office budget of $46 million.

  13. Wowsers says:

    Snide personal dig aside from this comment. I’d be onboard with the sugar tax if they used half of it to subsidise a list of staple foods making them less expensive for everyone. Allowing people to feed themselves better. Without this, sugar tax is nothing but a money grab.

  14. Erm what? says:

    So we are getting a budget surplus this year by completely draining the sinking fund. Hello?!?!
    What do we do next year now we have drained the sinking fund? this is shambles. Expect more taxes next year, they are “just giving us this tip” this year. Boy am I sore.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Well, to be fair, because of the sheer size of the PLP debt, Curtis had very little wiggle room. Not many options.

      He set the expectation that immigration reform has to be tackled, but did it in a guarded way.

      Disappointed to see no real commitment to reducing the civil service spend in any significant way. But overall, meh. It was just meh.

      He effectively kicked the can down the road for another 12 month.

  15. Can the Churches says:

    contribute to the tax base???

  16. James says:

    So let’s get to the nitty gritty.
    How much is rum going up?

    • Frank Sense says:

      It is not the rum, it will be the beer as already promised- about $6.00 or more per case when all is said & done.

  17. Adklee says:

    “Immigration is not the core issue; economic competitiveness is.”

    “Bermuda’s challenge is not solely the need for immigration reform. Bermuda’s challenge is the need for fundamental economic reform. Reform that reduces interest rates, reduces the cost of energy, reduces the cost of health insurance, and  reduces the cost of doing business in Bermuda”

    “Fundamental economic reform means that we need to reduce the cost of doing business in Bermuda”

    Ummmm but the PLP have not provided any sort of stimulus plan, so…..

  18. Really says:

    Usual trolls again trying to spin this. In actuality this is a good budget to follow. It is a BALANCED BUDGET with not so scary taxes like you all keep lying about. Just reading some of these comments clearly shows the bias you all have. Just take your pre conceived notions and actually read the budget. And also suspending the payments to the sinking fund for the reason given is a GOOD thing. Read the reason why instead of assuming. You quickly forget that your assumptions is what got your party voted out in the first place.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Sadly, it was a nothing budget. He rearranged the tax revenues streams to be more efficient. That’s great, but a) it’s the very least he should do and b) it’s not strategic. It’s a purely tactical move that does nothing but kick the hard decisions down the road.

      As a politician this is no surprise, and really, he had very few options given we are saddled with the PLP debt. I think it was arguably as good as we were going to get.

      meh.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      *You quickly forget that your assumptions is what got your party voted out in the first place.*

      And how about the assumptions as to how your party got voted back in ?

    • 2 Bermudas says:

      My land tax is going up, the cost of everything is going up due to the increase in FCPT, the cost of a beer is going up even more, my bank fees will go up because they’ve had their taxes increased. This is before my health insurance inevitably goes up. No contribution to the sinking fund so they’ll be back next year looking for even more taxes. On top of that I’ll be lucky to get a raise this year. What’s there to feel good about?!?!?!

      Pee El Pee!! Pee El Pee!! Bermuda for Bermudians!! Hahahahaha!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      There is nothing in the budget about reducing the size of the civil service, or cutting back on Government spending, which should be priority one not new taxes. How is it that our population is shrinking yet the civil service keeps getting bigger?

      Oh and using up the sinking fund isn’t a bad thing? When this government promised to start paying down the debt as soon as it was voted in? Then broke that promise twice now.

      You know what the real problem is? Its us. Entitled Bermudians. Whoever the government of the day is, they have to tread lightly so as not to piss us off, but I’ll tell you something. If we don’t start sacrificing and cutting back eventually the sh*t is going to hit the fan and there will be nothing left for us.

  19. Joe Bloggs says:

    So, the Minister says that:

    - financial-services tax will be increased on banks and insurance premiums and that “the increased fee on insurance fees would be the obligation of the insurer”. I’d love to see how that will happen.

    - tax on foreign currency purchases is also up from 1 per cent to 1.25 per cent. That means that the Bermuda dollar has been further devalued against the US dollar.

    - Capital expenditure for the new financial year is estimated to be $64.7 million, $2.5 million higher than last year. That is a 3.85% increase, or an increase nearly double the rate of inflation.

    - Government will relax ownership restrictions on condominiums in the North East Hamilton Empowerment Zone in a bid to stimulate the economy. Bermudians do not have enough confidence in our economy to buy those condominiums, so lets hope that ex pats do.

    - Government will suspend payments into the sinking fund — the fund into which money is set aside for paying down debt. We are going to spend all the money we get in and we are not going to save for when we have to pay down on our debt.

  20. sandgrownan says:

    I’m not a fan of the pin-wearing trend of politicians. It’s frankly, a bit pathetic. Does anyone know if Curtis was wearing a PLP pin or a Bermuda pin? Party first or country first?

    • wahoo says:

      Not sure, but the school kids! Now that was a great idea! I hope he explained to them that even at their young age they are deeply in debt. Hope he thanked them also.

      • sandgrownan says:

        Christ, what a prick. Has anyone explained to them they are on the hook for the PLP debt?

  21. Eve says:

    BTA gets a $5M budget increase thanks to higher cruise ship passengers and rental taxes. Air arrivals in 2018 were up 4.8% over 2017 which is no higher and in many cases lower than other destinations that North American travelers choose, BTA at best is only keeping up. With cost being the major factor in Bermuda tourism how can the Government justify these visitor tax increases? BTA’s new Tourism Plan is still targeting the same principle areas that have been targeted by BDoT and BTA, with the hundreds of millions spent there Bermuda could have given hundreds of thousands of free 7 day trips to Bermuda and still had money left in the purse. Guess Zane has decided to join the BTA social circle.

    • Anonymous says:

      The budget with regard to the BTA is ridiculous. It really seems like the Gov is trying to sabotage them. They reduced the amount that they themselves pay to them, and heap on a ton of new taxes that are sure to chase a lot of our visitors away. Then they’re going to turn around and talk crap about them once arrival numbers start going down.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        Don’t be ridiculous. The BTA is an independent body. It is not subject to government direction and as such is treated the same as every other independent body in Bermuda.

      • Eve says:

        BTA got the Government to add visitor rental tax and increase the cruise ship tax, BTA will be responsible for chasing away any visitors with higher taxes. BTA is best job paid directly or indirectly through the Government purse with their high salaries, bonuses, perks and parties. And the BTA salaries, bonuses and travel expenses are not available to the public; Zane’s travel expenses are made public maybe he will consider making BTA execs travel expenses public.

  22. question says:

    So they’re going to borrow more money and then lend it in home mortgages, with a backstop guarantee that ensures the mortgage borrowers don’t have to repay.
    Great. More and more debt.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      Yes. But not for everyone, only for civil servants. The people who write our laws benefit, no one else

  23. UBS says:

    Actually, the scuttle bug I’ve been hearing is that there are two cruise lines ready to begin regular service to Hamilton as their passengers do not like Dockyard – but the BTA has opted for a Norwegian mega ship instead because that will get more numbers and their bonuses will be correspondingly larger… Pathetic, especially when you realize how much the rest of the island does not benefit by keeping these visitors inaccessible.

  24. Sheikh Grabbir Boubi Haide D'Salaamie says:

    Legalise marijuanna…and tax that .

    If you need money.
    We need freedom of choice.

  25. Sheikh Grabbir Boubi Haide D'Salaamie says:

    Mind your spending.

    I see trash pick up deminished and same money in expenditure….but they pick it up… and I think…just be glad your not getting all the govt your paying for….

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