Minister: “Not Our Intention To Bring Hardship”

August 20, 2019 | 68 Comments

Following comments made concerning increases in the land tax, Minister of Finance Curtis Dickinson tonight [Aug 20] said, “I am appreciative of the concerns that some have recently expressed about the new land tax structure.

“Putting together our current budget was a challenging exercise, one in which we have tried to achieve balance, wherein we had to gain additional revenue while minimizing any potential negative impact on the economy. We were very mindful of the human impact that our budget would have as we took a number of actions to address the islands fiscal challenges; among them our national debt.

“As we go about solving these issues we have not forgotten the needs of our citizens, especially our seniors. While we must all contribute to the solution, any tax increases in this budget were designed to be mostly borne by those who can most afford to pay them.

“With respect to land tax, in an effort to be fair, they were increased across the board, and the new rate structure ensures that the smallest burden was placed on properties with an annual rental value (ARV) of up to $22,000.

“Our seniors will continue to be granted relief from land tax on their primary residences, with an exemption for properties with an ARV of $45,500 or less. If a senior’s primary residence has an ARV above the $45,500 exemption limit, taxes are payable on the excess amount. [https://www.gov.bm/land-tax]

“As we continue to address our challenges, it is not our intention to bring hardship on anyone, especially our seniors. Our focus remains on growing the economy, creating jobs, and reducing the national debt, and we will continue to work for the betterment of everyone.”

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  1. Ting says:

    Well not intended or not you have brought hardship and I am one who will rise up to ensure that you are put out of office in the next election! And when the PLP lose all of you politicians will be out looking for jobs and we will see to it that you are unemployed so you can feel our pain!!! The thunder is on the way.

    • UBPeeerrrs says:

      How do you think PLP or Government can pay for the 165 + million Carolina Bay hotel the the previous oba UBPeee sign a stupid stupid stupid stupid contract on. The UBP and their arrogance always changing the goal post like their names.

  2. Things a Gwan says:

    Not your intention? Mr. Dickinson, with all due respect the situation that this country now in is directly attributed to the policies and practices of the PLP. Furthermore, your party campaigned on the promise “to lower the cost of living and put more money in the pockets of Bermudians”.

    So was that a lie? Or is your party incompetent? Or perhaps you now realize that what your party has done (or not done) in the last 20 years is finally catching up with you?

    Mr. Dickinson, the PLP , and its supporting partners the BIU, The Peoples Campaign and others – unleashed a brutal campaign against the OBA. It didn’t matter if what they did was a good idea – you marched and protested! Congrats- you won 24-12. Suddenly the protests and marches stopped! However, what you failed to do was come up with a plan. Your party is the government – congratulations, but now what?

    PLP SUPPORTERS – THERE ARE MANY OF YOU OUT THERE. HOW MANY OF YOU CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT

    • Tim Johnson says:

      Bravo!

    • Things a Gwan says:

      And in today news. minister Desilva snuck in a bit at the end informing the public that PTB is hiring, drivers , mechanics etc… For years we have had disruptions in service because we don’t have enough working buses. So why are we hiring even more staff? You can’t make this stuff up.

  3. Things a Gwan says:

    Not your intention? Mr. Dickinson, with all due respect the situation that this country now in is directly attributed to the policies and practices of the PLP. Furthermore, your party campaigned on the promise “to lower the cost of living and put more money in the pockets of Bermudians”.

    So was that a lie? Or is your party incompetent? Or perhaps you now realize that what your party has done (or not done) in the last 20 years is finally catching up with you?

    Mr. Dickinson, the PLP, and its supporting partners the BIU, The Peoples Campaign and others – unleashed a brutal campaign against the OBA. It didn’t matter if what they did was a good idea – you marched and protested! Congrats- you won 24-12. Suddenly the protests and marches stopped! However, what you failed to do was come up with a plan. Your party is the government – yay you won, but now what?

    PLP SUPPORTERS – THERE ARE MANY OF YOU OUT THERE.
    HOW MANY OF YOU CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT YOU HAVE MORE MONEY IN YOUR POCKETS AS PROMISED!
    HOW MANY CAN SAY YOUR HEALTHCARE IS BETTER AND COSTS YOU LESS.
    HOW MANY OF YOU CAN SAY YOUR PLEASED WITH THE STATE OF PUBLIC EDUCATION.
    HOW MANY OF YOU CAN SAY YOU EAT HEALTHIER BECAUSE OF THE SUGAR TAX?
    HOW MANY OF YOU CAN SAY THAT THE LAND TAX HASN’T AFFECTED YOU IN A NEGATIVE WAY?
    HOW MANY ARE EMPLOYED OR EVEN KNOW SOMEONE EMPLOYED BY A FINTECH COMPANY?
    HOW MANY OF YOU CAN SAY THAT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION HAS IMPROVED AS PROMISED?
    HOW MANY OF YOU CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT TRASH COLLECTION ONCE A WEEK HAS NOT AFFECTED YOU?

    I used to see frogs on the roads at night, now I see rats! I trust I am not alone.

    I could go on and on? Part of the problem with most of us is that we vote party instead of for the best person? The bigger problem is that those that are voted in MUST vote along party lines instead of voting their conscience. They work harder at putting either side down instead of working together.

    Raising taxes is not a solution! Do your job and demand that your leader – do his. Lead, follow, or get out of the way!

  4. Concerned Bermudian says:

    What about the extra fees from BELCO on our recent bills?????? PLP you are horrible!!!

  5. Toadinthehole says:

    Lolol land tax, sugar tax, foreign currency purchase tax, local company dividend tax and increased charges, increased private health imsurance .. but, yeah, mindful of the human impact ROFL!

  6. National Debt says:

    Bermuda – be very worried about the NATIONAL DEBT.

    “We were very mindful of the human impact that our budget would have as we took a number of actions to address the islands fiscal challenges; among them our national debt”.

    The size of Bermuda’s National Debt is 3 times bigger “per capita” than that of Puerto Rico.
    It is a runaway train.
    It gets bigger all the time. At some point Bermuda could be going cap in hand to the IMF looking for a bailout.

    NATIONAL DEBT – the biggest chain around the necks of ALL Bermudians.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      When you say the “NATIONAL DEBT” is 3 times that of Puerto Rico, what are you referring to? The current account? The unfunded pension liabilities? The further debt being created daily by suspending payments into the sinking fund? Something else?

      • National Debt says:

        Debt includes pension liabilities !
        Stacked up against Puerto Rico – Bermuda is 3 times worse – NOT GOOD

        Bermuda debt – inclusive of pension fund deficits $5 billion.
        Bermuda population $60,000.
        Per capita debt $83,000
        Working adults (50%) $166,000

        PR debt $120 billion.
        PR population $3.5 million.
        Per capita debt $34,285
        working adults (50%) $68,000

        • National Debt says:

          Correction
          Bermuda debt – inclusive of pension fund deficits $5 billion.
          Bermuda population 60,000.
          Per capita debt $83,000
          Working adults (50%) $166,000

          PR debt $120 billion.
          PR population 3.5 million.
          Per capita debt $34,285
          working adults (50%) $68,000

    • trump supporter says:

      And we HEAR NOTHING about it.
      Well done voters. I guess just another cog in the wheel.

  7. Ringmaster says:

    What a ridiculous response. It’s not just seniors being affected. These increases have been brought about primarily because of the increased cost of Government, especially hiring more unnecessary people, and appointing mundane Ministers. We are told Government is using more IT which should mean more efficiency, but this is Bermuda so we still need 2 people for every job. An island this size does not need, and cannot afford, this Government. Debt is not getting paid down, it is more likely to be increasing. Where are the financial updates regarding revenue and expenditure since the Budget? Silence must mean they are bad like retail sales.

  8. Joe Bloggs says:

    “While we must all contribute to the solution …”

    Really? Does that mean MPs are now paying Payroll Tax on their pay from the public purse?

    “it is not our intention to bring hardship on anyone”

    Really? That is like saying “It was not my intention to injure the lady I ran down while driving recklessly”!

    Everything is political “spin” these days. Not one politician in Bermuda seems capable of being honest with the electorate.

  9. comfortably numb says:

    How about you and your fellow cabinet members not flying first class everywhere and not staying in $500+ hotel rooms? That might help reduce the national debt that you created.

    • watching says:

      they don’t.

    • Flabbergasted says:

      Go and look at the Government travel website (hard to find so simply google ‘Bermuda Government travel’). This Minister spent $758.44 per night for two nights in a NY hotel in May to attend a conference called ‘Consensus 2019′ (along with the Premier and others in a ‘delegation’). At the RIMS insurance conference in April/May, it says from April 30th to May 2nd (assume back to the island on May 2nd so two hotel nights) he spent $2,538.81 on accommodation – or $1,269 per night. Even if it was three nights that’s $846 per night. No wonder we are in debt! Reminded of a former premier who said “we don’t stay at Best Westerns.” Seems nothing has changed.

  10. Slipnut says:

    Life is filled with good intentions. Your actions have caused undue consequences. Be honest with the people of this country on the statist of this economy and what your plan is.

  11. Seascape says:

    Taxing us to fund your spending in areas that funds should not be spent.

    • Taxing us to pay for Bob’s airport.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        No, OJ, that is the whole point of the airport “deal”.

        Bermuda is in too much debt and cannot afford to pay for a new airport, so the developer gets to collect fees for 30 years in return for funding the building of the new airport facility. Debt, I might add, that was incurred while a certain doctor was premier of Bermuda.

  12. Birdlegs says:

    What you are doing is hurting retirees big time. Land tax, health insurance mess up, the list goes on.

  13. truthertz says:

    Whilst you might not have intended to do it your budget has only increased the financial burden on ALL residents. Not one thing in your budget assisted the PLP in achieving your campaign promise of reducing the cost of living. It has actually achieved the exact opposite. But this is what happens when people (politicians) who are paid hundreds of thousands a year don’t have to worry about the cost of healthcare (as it is paid for by the taxpayer), the cost of gas (as you have taxpayer funded cars) etc.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      Perhaps not. This could all be part of a cunning plan.

      If Bermuda is too expensive for Bermudians to retire in, we will leave and take our medical problems with us. Many of us will not claim our rightful social insurance pension. We will sell our houses in a depressed market to that previously disadvantaged Bermudians can buy them at reduced prices.

      The result is that there are more houses now available to previously disadvantaged Bermudians, the unfunded pension liability is lessened because some Bermudians who have moved away are not claiming their rightful social insurance pension, medical claims are down because retirees have moved away and there will be fewer Bermudians in Bermuda who are out of work.

      I see real scope for a plan here.

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

    Therein lies the problem. You have no ideas with which to stimulate the economy so your only option is to TAX, TAX and TAX THE PEOPLE! The ones that can barely handle the taxes now and who voted you in. Your honeymooon is over. GET CRACKIN’!!!

    • Kathy says:

      I don’t see you bringing any smart ideas to the table to stimulate the economy!

      At the end of the day a huge tax burden such as our national debt will bear down on the people. Who else is going to pay it? Can we just shrug it off for future generations to pay?

      Total national debt currently stands at $42K for every man, woman and child in this country. So, if you are a family of 4, you are currently in debt for $168K. Interest per year on that debt is approximately $2K for every man, woman and child in this country. So, again, a family of 4 in Bermuda owes $8K this year in INTEREST alone!

      It will only continue to grow as we can barely afford now to service that debt!

      Let’s not forget the positive spin in KPMG’s independent opinion on the PLP’s 2019/2020 budget…

      KPMG Opinion
      “We are encouraged that the Government remains
      committed to fiscal sustainability as a central priority
      and is taking the necessary steps to prudently manage
      debt through strategic refinancing to extended
      maturities and take advantage of favourable interest
      rates. Repayments from the Sinking Fund will help to
      lower interest costs next year, and allow Bermuda to
      present an overall budget surplus for the first time in
      some years.”

      And let’s also not forget how previous Governments did little to nothing to address the national debt budgeting deficits each year since 2003 adding more debt to our already heavy burden. Again from the independent KPMG report…

      “In his maiden budget statement, Minister of Finance,
      the Honourable Curtis Dickinson JP, MP, has delivered
      a budget surplus and Bermuda’s debt is projected to
      fall next year for the first time since 2003.”

      If you have nothing new and positive to input, then just shut your trap and pay your taxes!

  15. Double S says:

    Just wait till they introduce income tax to fund their national health scheme. You think it is bad now, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

    • Hoodwinked says:

      As a senior I am barely making ends meet. I cannot even afford to travel, let alone stay in $400:or $500 a night hotel rooms. Why all the luxury ??

  16. watching says:

    While yes there have been tax increases, people are conveniently forgetting the taxes instituted under the OBA government – the tax on electricity was overly onerous!

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Tax on electricity ?
      Really ? Or are you confusing fuel oil taxes (which have always existed) or that ridiculous ‘terminal charge’ , that was another creative belco ripoff , with something else ?

  17. Pangaea says:

    Minister , you just did !

    Minister, Hardship is not the way it is supposed to be.

    Minister, Stop the smoke a mirror

    Minister, think of ways to reduce ” tax and spend”

    Minister, you can can judge Bermuda by other standards.

    Minister, where is the value for money ?

    Minister, you have cause hard ship across the board .

    Minister , you know cost is why tourist don’t come here and stay for a while and go away dissatisfied.

    Minister, we don’t earn 4.7 time as much pay as politicians.

    Minister, we can not live on our income with out sacrifice.

    Minister, the new health insurance plan designed for profit will fail.

  18. Bermudian says:

    These are things that you need to remember when you’re at the polling station casting your vote, not the 5 minute chat that politicians have with you weeks leading up to the election promising sunshine and rainbows.

  19. Mark says:

    Where’s OJ and the usual Pee El Pee trolls?? Truth hurts!

  20. Dual Citizenship says:

    I thank god I have dual citizenship in times like this. If the PLP do not change or make good on their promises I will be out of here. Yes I know that will worsen the problem here but I need to look after my family and if that means leaving behind the country I love to provide a better more affordable life for my family then so be it.

    • Bruised and battered says:

      Bermuda is at a very sad time. Prices are totally out of control as evidenced by a recent video circulated by visitors. More taxes and spending by a labor government will be a disaster. I am nearing retirement and I hate to leave but more and more Bermudians are seeing that as the only option. You can live in decent countries (not UK) for $1000 a month and you can’t even get heath insurance in Bermuda for that!This will mean more funds are leaving Bermuda at a time when we need local spending and taxes to draw down on the debt.

      I am not confident that the government has the will nor the intelligence to turn this around in my lifetime.

    • Good riddance, why wait leave now.

  21. Triangle Drifter says:

    Blah, blah, blah! Enough hot air to get a very large hot air balloon off the ground. Not a word about Government cutting costs. $600,000 per day finance costs on the PLP created debt. Speak to that. Not a chance. They have no clue as to how to deal with the crippling debt.

    Our per capita national debt is way more than the what it is for the people of the US. It took over 100 years for the US Government to get so far into debt. The PLP Government did it in less than 5 years yet the followers think all is fine & dandy.

    How’s the 2019-2020 budget going? How soon will the money run out & the Government will be looking at increasing the debt for more?

    In the midst of all this we have a bunch of f00ls spewing deflective talk about independence. Imagine that! Independence brought to you by a bunch who can’t even revamp a bus schedule in 17 years.

  22. wahoo says:

    Please resign. You and your fellow ministers, past and present, have done enough damage here.

  23. Jiminy Cricket says:

    More importantly, will we at least have a balance budget and better yet a surplus to pay down our national debt?
    If not . . .

  24. Bermewjan says:

    I’ve heard this mantra from a few Bermudiana recently:

    I love Bermuda, it’s my home, but the cost of living is killing me. There’s absolutely no way I can retire here… which means it’s time for me to go.

    A message directly attributable to PLP short sighted, self-aggrandizing policies. So in the end the PLP have proven through their repeated actions they are not about the people, but rather only about their own personal gain.

    • Ting says:

      Then go! Poor retirement planning is at the root of that and not saving money for the future! More Bermuda for me to buy and enjoy!

      • Toodle-oo says:

        You and OJ are of the same train of thought by the look of it. The PLP master plan since the 1960s in case anyone is too stupid to have not realized it by now.
        Out of curiosity though , does your lack of sympathy also apply to all the senior citizens who religiously vote PLP ? You know , the ones who never planned for the future who now need assistance in every form imaginable ?

  25. BOOM There it is! says:

    Well intentioned or not–there it is!

    Well done PLP planners!

  26. Madge says:

    I.M.F. is on the way,no problem.

  27. Pangaea says:

    UNITY.

    We are Bermudian and have no children , are politicians are to blame, now you all have come to know why.

    Our taxes educated your children and paid for the Regiment and Police and few new pink busses and one or two new trash trucks, not forgetting the court house.

    You are not politicians ,you are all statesmen with responsibilities.

    If you think that the O.B.A. or U.B.P has the answers you are sadly mistaken , time had come for the best minds in this country save the day an never let this happen ever again.

    The only way we will ever come out of this is through unity and take racism and hate out of your hearts.

    ” Never put your hands in another mans pocket.”

  28. Clem says:

    “While we must all contribute to the solution, ”

    Chris, the solution is to cut Government spending. A lack of fiscal discipline means that you are not presiding over a sustainable economic plan.

    You must surely realise that the cumulative nature of the rise in the cost of living means you are now in danger of increasing the exodus. We are being depleted each month and people are shouldering the burden of an overly large government workforce and enduring a greater squeeze on what little we still have.

    How many more tax rises do you intend to introduce. You are astute enough to know that no business could allow its fixed costs to run away like this. In this regard, you are failing Bermudians and putting us second.

    Please kindly listen to the many voices. These are tough times, becoming more tough.

  29. Freeze on Hiring! says:

    Why is the government still hiring across the board? I can understand when you need to replace a professional with certain qualifications like an engineer, plumber or an accountant. But today on the government job board is an accounting assistant position. Please train someone from within who isn’t fully occupied. Government does not need to hire another person to add to the cost of the bloated government workforce.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      Yes it does. The more people employed by Government the fewer unemployed Bermudians and the better things look for the election in a couple of years.

  30. Me says:

    They bait and switched the programme when they got elected and friends and family now do well o I wanna be a minister without a portfolio

  31. Daren says:

    Glad we left baby boooom

  32. Daren says:

    Hey maybe you guys should go independent next see what happens

  33. Sandgrownan says:

    They really are stupid and incompetent. What a joke, failure after after failure. .

  34. I'm just saying says:

    That statement tells me that not much thought was put into it or you don’t know what you’re doing.

  35. cpm says:

    Tweed got status yet?

  36. Pangaea says:

    YOU CAN THINK WHAT YOU LIKE.

    BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY.

    BE MORE CAREFUL WHAT YOU PUT ON PAPER.

  37. Up d Hill says:

    Giving away 75k to a sports club just goes to show how ignorant David Burt and his government are of any dept let alone 11 mil the first go around. Completely incapable of running Bermuda. And why is the OBA not jumping on the Government about their taxing the life out of local business . Sickening what the PLP are doing to Bermuda!!!!

    • Hoodwinked says:

      Yes, they got 75k
      We got an additional charge on our vehicle insurance
      A financial charge on home Insurance, when Insurance Companies already make so much money. They could certainly afford to cover the financial charge but, pass it on to us instead
      A land tax increase
      A charge on ID cards
      And don’t even talk about the sugar tax. A scheme to put more money in Government coffers….
      SAD, SAD, SAD

  38. William says:

    Are you forging why we are looking for ways to pay this debt.remember the “we are in our platinum period” when money was being spent like there was no tomorrow what party was that.

  39. Charlly X says:

    So how come we don’t hear n see the same banter about Oba policy by you ??? Can they do no wrong ???

  40. Zario says:

    All of these taxes will not help to pay for the external debt, which has to be paid in foreign currency.

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