Opposition Delivers Reply To The 2014 Budget

February 28, 2014

D.Burt-Hoz-8740[Updated with video] Shadow Finance Minister David Burt delivered the Opposition’s Reply to the Budget in the House of Assembly today [Feb 28], outlining Bermuda’s current economic situation and what can be done to improve it.

Mr. Burt, an IT professional, managed to live tweet his Reply to the Budget while simultaneously speaking in the House, with around 30 tweets with speech highlights emanating from his account while he was speaking, most likely having been preset.

The Opposition’s Reply to the Budget covers the PLP’s alternative budget ideas, including a number of revenue generation ideas for the government to consider, ranging from tax reforms to the regulation and taxation of cannabis.

The Reply also explores a number of critical reformation proposals, including changes to the banking system, changes to the immigration system, and a relaxation of the 60/40 rule for more sectors, with a focus on “investing for the future.”

The Reply covers such points as:

  • The benefits/risks of austerity
  • Improvements to Civil Service efficiency
  • Online gaming revenue opportunities
  • Regulation and taxation of cannabis
  • Reinstatement of $5 million towards education
  • Increase of $5 million towards energy investments
  • Reinstatement of $5 towards Bermuda Tourism Authority
  • Increase of $4.3 million towards training, scholarships, and workforce development
  • Increase of $2 million towards online government services
  • Reinstatement of $2 million towards Bermuda College
  • Reinstatement of $2 million towards police budget
  • Commitment of $1.5 million towards community development grants
  • Reinstatement of $1.2 million towards child and family services
  • Reinstatement of $1 million towards youth, sport, and recreation
  • Commitment of $1 million in extra funding towards customs
  • Banking reform to benefit consumers

The PLP’s Full Reply to the Budget is below [PDF here]:

Update 3.36pm: Video of the PLP’s Budget Reply press conference today

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Comments (68)

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  1. Umm.... says:

    Going to have to read very carefully, but I do like what I’ve seen thus far. Whether or not the PLP get back in power at the next election is irrelevant to me. I welcome a strong and proactive opposition. And I think the PLP may be starting to become that. The government is only as good as the oppositions hold them accountable to be.

    • frank says:

      well done mr. burt

      • BETTTY TRUMP says:

        WELL DONE MR BURT< WELL DONE !! I am very pleased with your budget reply. You are indeed a shinning star.

        • Barracuda says:

          A shinning star , is that a star on its knees? bwaaahaahaa

    • Rob says:

      Yep PLP always made a good opposition, lets hope it stays that way.

    • Terry says:

      Do you really know what” proactive” is?
      With reference to your comment/s above.
      You talk crap.

      • Chingas Bye says:

        I know what Proactive is…it’s way that company that had zero experience in construction that the PLP hired to build Berkeley. Hmmmmm what did that cost us after they won the bid. $40 million or was it ““`460 million extra.

    • Srsly? says:

      Let me get this straight.

      1. PLP ruins Bermuda financially. People realize this, so…
      2. OBA gets voted in to fix it.
      3. OBA presents solutions with no constructive help from PLP.
      4. PLP challenges OBA’s solutions.
      5. “Hooray PLP”

      WHAT THE F***K.

  2. Terry says:

    Nandi records things.
    Mr. Burt copies and pastes things.
    Must be reading the OBA site and BIAW with game show host Mr. Gordon.
    Come on. Get real.
    If I tell you the sun will rise over there you have to find that “there” is east?

    I need a rum.

  3. Unbelievable says:

    Tweeting while he’s delivering his response?

    Clearly he’s not focused on the job.

    • PBanks says:

      I think in some quarters that’s called multitasking…

    • Umm.... says:

      Or maybe your should get a better understanding of how social media works. There are many tools that allow people to schedule their tweets/posts. Maybe he did that based on the timing of his reading of the speech. Or maybe he gave access to someone in his circle to tweet on his behalf. I doubt he was making the tweets himself.

  4. Sound Track! says:

    Good try! But i would still take Bob’s budget!

  5. Somebody's Momma says:

    We should be concerned about the content not what he was doing. As MP Burt said: “We should debate the issues, debate the ideas, debate our different visions, the debate should be about each other or our political parties.”

    • Al says:

      He must not have been in the House of Assembly last week to see politicians behaving like petty fools.

  6. watching says:

    Great budget presentation by MP Burt. He has shown himself to be one to watch. Possible Premier in Waiting.

    • Oh dear says:

      How low are standards in this country?

      • Hmmmmm says:

        Listen to the Premier on Monday in his debate then you’ll have an answer to your question.

  7. Navin Johnson says:

    Sorry but I am not ready to give Mr Burt any leeway on budget matters as he has no credentials and his party has a horrific record and put us in this mess…now a year latter they have the answers…sorry..and oh by the way any online gaming would have to exclude members of any political party or their families…..would you still favor it and how would that compete with casino gaming which employs people in large numbers…..

    • Arikahs says:

      Don’t be a fool – no-one is born with credentials, you have to earn them and the only way to do that is with experience. Of course Bob has more credentials, he also has about twenty years on this guy.

      • Jim Jones says:

        I guess the PLP bench isn’t deep enough to appoint someone with credentials. The only two I could of have either been voted out of office or gone independent.

        Nice to know that one day Mr Burt will have the experience necessary to be a shadow finance minister.

      • Navin Johnson says:

        and how did Mr Burt do with his own business if you want to speak about credentials…..very easy to sit on the sidelines and say what the PLP would do when they never came close to doing it for 14 years…how many times did we hear Cox talk about turning the corner and green shoots? when you listened to the PLP finance Minister we never had unemployment yet the facts were different….this man is a so called I.T. expert and has ZERO track record in finance…..someone writes it for this guy and he reads it …period end of story….

  8. bluebird says:

    The PLP just loves to spend other peoples money until they get to the point where no one will lend them anymore money.
    “UNLESS” they sign over the TAX COLLECTION to the “LENDERS.
    What happens then when you cant pay……”NOBODY GETS A PENSION” as there will be no “MONEY” to pay them out.
    This has happened to other countries so don’t Believe that it cant happen.

    • Keepin' it Real...4Real! says:

      bluebird…these people cant see passed their noses…clueless to what is about to happen here in Bermuda…i’m laughing my butt off ..the PLP are like Pit Bulls in training an the OBA is dangling on a stick in front of ‘em…lol

  9. Makes no Sense says:

    I can’t for the life of me understand why the PLP would advocate for the scrapping of the tax concessions to the hotel industry.

    Why would any sensible finance minister impose taxes on a severely struggling if not already dead industry? They even acknowledge in their reply that some will feel the pain (i.e. business closures and further job losses). Mr. Burt continues on by stating that the industry participants should’ve adjusted their business model during the time of the concessions to be able to survive once these waivers were lifted. Well how on earth on they supposed to ‘adjust their business model’ (i.e. rein in costs) when the PLP and the Unions are willing to shut down the island for the sake of four redundant positions?

    And furthermore prior to mid-2013 the Bermuda Government retained direct responsibility for luring tourists to our shores and each and every administration failed miserably. But despite thsi fact Mr. Burt and the PLP blame the hotel industry for not being more profitable.

    So the PLP’s forecasts of an additional $15 mn to $30 mn in tax revenue (a very speculative projection at least given the wide spread) is based on the current number of hotels now in Bermuda. What happens when the new taxes force further hotel closures? Well the inevitable consequence will be lower tax revenue.

    Can someone please explain to me why the PLP believes that taxing an industry which now only constitutes roughly 5% of our GDP, which is struggling to survive a positive move? How exactly would that benefit our hotels and by extension our tourism industry? It seems like the PLP has learned nothing from their 2010 budget disaster which saw both payroll and foreign currency purchase tax increase in the middle of what they now call the Great Recession resulting in an exodus of business from our shores. Hence why just 12 months later the PLP was forced to roll back these increases.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Simple. Because they’re not worried that the OBA will do badly and harm the country, they’re worried that they’ll do well, thus making it harder to win the next election. That’s, pure and simple, all it’s about.

  10. Looking in says:

    Wow,the PLP suggesting how the economy they ruined,should be turned around.It does not get any better than this!

  11. bobmarley says:

    legalize the weed, get more tourist from this, will create job openings at coffee shops , farmers to grow the product , tourist will flood the island as it is very close to new York etc. put the money towards helping people in poverty and we will be able to make it through this recession people have been living in poverty and struggle for far too long , lets make a change.

  12. First timer says:

    If David Burt EVER in a million years became leader of this country….you are talking about very serious shortcomings. Oh, I know he’s pretty and he talks a lot but his grasp of reality and his awareness of the time and place he’s living in is slim to none. Read this reply – I gaurantee it will be a bunch of vague ideas with no specifics mentioned.

    • mixitup says:

      My fault…Why was I thinking you were referring to the current leader.

  13. Seament says:

    I’m not sure…..

    I think Burt was Junior finance minister in the last gov, and look what they spent us into. I think maybe the economy has hit a plateau for now….but jeesh, we still need to cut spending by substantial amounts.
    eehemmm.. Mr Premier. I understand travel, but you could go alone…no??
    or fix your PR. Those trips may have been very important, but you never told us why.

  14. Jamwasea says:

    No surprise with the PLP reply to the budget. Everything they want is what they were incapable of doing when in power. What total and utter crap from them as always. They remain useless windbags !!!

  15. Unbelievable says:

    Remember that time when EB only gave the Opposition 30 mins to respond to one of his budgets in the House?

    • Unbelievable says:

      Come to think of it, it was probably more like 10 minutes.

    • Gotham says:

      That was incredibly kind of that nice, thoughtful, empathetic man.

      • Dr. the Hon. Ewart F. Brown says:

        Both of you are incorrect. It was about 30 seconds. It happened because I told the Opposition that if the Shadow Minister or anyone else used the word “corruption” without evidence of its existence, I would severely limit their time. This happens often in Parliaments around the world. Got it?

        • Unbelievable says:

          Well then, there you go.

          The PLP’s probable current mentality.

        • Mike Hind says:

          And here we are, just a few years later and asking for evidence of specious claims is taboo and grounds for some REALLY disgusting and racist personal attacks.

          Oh, how the times have changed.

          Oh, wait, no they haven’t.

          As always, “It’s ok when we do it…”

  16. nuffin but the truth says:

    nobody cares what the defunct and extinct plp has to say!

  17. Walter Burgess says:

    @ Mr. Burt & PLP –

    As a member of the community and the Opposition shadow finance minister your entitled to your view and response to the OBA budget, but are dead wrong.

    This is worth mentioning until you and the PLP get the message.

    What creditability do you or the PLP have after 14 years of fiscal mismanagement?

    Fact- The PLP inherited a public purse that was healthy, not the case now. Just because you and the PLP have an opinion does not make it correct.

    Get your collective heads out of the sand, come up with viable workable solutions and help with resolving the islands fiscal nightmare…….

    The last time I checked “RESPECT” was earned…..

    Just the way i see it…..

    -FWB Jr

    • Unbelievable says:


      What makes anyone even think that in one year of being the Opposition the PLP all of a sudden has all the ideas to fix BDA’s ills and is capable of being the Govt again? AND when you consider that the party still has the same people who put us in this mess at the top of their hierarchy anyway!

      Reality check please!

    • BETTTY TRUMP says:

      Mr. Burgess sounds like the powerful strong response to the budget by MP Burt is killing you. This response is the role of the Opposition. Mr. Burt has done an outstanding job, and he has not only provided a careful outline to the budget, BUT great SOLUTIONS as well.

      Keep it up Mr. Burt you did extremely well !!!

  18. Ringmaster says:

    No word from the Betty/Bettty part of the PLP. Probably shocked by the PLP budget response.

    Here’s a couple of interesting parts. Mr Burt is criticizing the past PLP Government which is consistent with how the Paula Cox administration distanced herself from the Dr Brown administration. The PLP must be the only political entity that reinvents itself with each new leader and has no connection with the previous one(s).

    Mr Burt is championing indirect taxation such as a sales tax. Anyone with Economics 101 knows such taxes hit the least well off the hardest. Well that’s a shift in the standing strong for the working people promise. Now it’s hit them with taxes. Then add in the mention of tax on corporate profits. Not a bad idea if done correctly, but could only apply to local companies as Paula Cox made sure that couldn’t happen by renewing the Exempt Undertakings Act a few years ago for another 25 years. A very shortsighted and bad move and clearly forgotten about by Mr. Burt.

    • BETTTY TRUMP says:

      I am busy traveling FIRST CLASS, had not had too much time to write. But I must say I think @COFFEE gave you a brilliant reply:

      “Shocked I was at how easily MP Burt exposed the real flaws in the masterpiece budget of E.T Bob Richards.”……..BY Coffee

      Well said Coffee, I could not have put it better

      A brilliant Masterpiece of work by MP BURT…keep it coming Burt your one of our brilliant young man to watch within the PLP.. We have a rich resource of youth and intelligence.

      • Ringmaster says:

        @Betty/PLP/Bettty. Pretty clever to hook up multiple computers to a single source so only one avatar, but you give the game away. You guys really need to time your comments better so you don’t have a Betty and Bettty posting at the same time on different threads. Also the original Betty did explain her poor grammar and spelling is due to being aged and with bad eyesight. Forgotten that have you as you stay up so late most nights which can’t be good for your health.

      • Sandy Bottom says:

        “…….you can’t magically balance the budget by simply “cutting consultants,” “Ministerial travel” and “Ministerial Salaries” ……”

        PLP website. June 2, 2012.

  19. Coffee says:

    Shocked I was at how easily MP Burt exposed the real flaws in the masterpiece budget of E.T Bob Richards .

    • 32n64w says:

      Really? Please list how the PLP’s reply to an OBA budget that attempts to tackle the financial indiscretions of the PLP’s last eight years in Government was in any way flawed without first acknowledging the necessity of adjustment for their predecessors ways.

      • LOL (original TM*) says:

        Come come you know she/he can’t they just throw out some short handed on proof statement and hope those that didn’t read the reply or aren’t sure how Government finances work will agree cause some one esle did..school yard bully popularity tactics…

        LOL PLP scarring their own since 2007….

    • WillSee says:

      I am still waiting for my coffee!

  20. Truth Tells says:

    Burt just made up numbers as he went along, no foundation no plan, just pie in the sky gibberish! The RAGE Commission? Really? Makes recommendations in 2016 (no idea what they are) and then in 2017 as a result the budget returns to current account surplus? What a complete load of nonsense! But sure enough the PLP faithful will be thinking he is brilliant instead of really scary! And then there’s Beans rambling nonsense to cap off who between him and Burt can sell the most garbage, raising zero revenue to boot!

    • Vote for Me says:

      @ Truth Tells
      Please give a critique of MP Burt’s response to the Budget statement. If you check his numbers on OBA overruns from last year, excess travel expenditure, Public Service employment numbers and his qualitative comments, you will find that they are accurate.

      Generic responses on Bernews and elsewhere will not serve to sway readers.

      • Balanced Facts says:

        Some of his numbers may have some base in reality, he certainly was talking nonsense on the 80 million in tax revenue on on line Gaming in Gibraltor, Bean tried to clean it up for him but ended up confirming the A-G’s point that Burt had got it wrong! The numbers on what would be applied to vivacious Ministries made NO SENSE and had zero support!

        • Jim Jones says:

          They never managed to come up with a proper budget while in power, why would they suddenly be able to reply to one?

  21. Unbelievable says:

    The bottom line to all of this is that the PLP has NO way of EVEN fixing the mess they put us in.

    Mr. Burt is the Junior Minister of Finance. He has a responsibility to keep the Govt accountable. Ok fair enough. BUT his crew do not have any credibility to fix this situation.

  22. Vote fro Me says:

    Well done MP Burt

    By all accounts, an excellent response. Anyone who reads the response objectively will realize that it is well researched and planned. It could not have been started and finished in the 7 days since MP Richards delivered the budget.

    Now if only we could ‘pick the good’ out of the budget statement and the PLP reply!!! Bermuda would then be on the road to recovery.

  23. bluebird says:

    The Government has apologized to the civil service as they wont be getting paid as the money that they have “BORROWED” has not come through yet.
    Grenada is also $2Billion dollars in “DEBT” and have no way to pay it back.So do you think that some “CUTS” would be in order??????

  24. Triangle Drifter says:

    Sorry, but I simply cannot wrap my head around the idea that the crowd who got us into this horrendous financial dung pile would have the slightest idea of how to get us out of it.

    Look around the ranks of the PLP. See any selfmade business people? See any economists? See anyone with any serious financial background?

    Sorry, but their talent pool is very small with only a few waders in it.

  25. Looking in says:

    The PLP,masters at putting Bermudians out of work.