Opposition’s Initial Response To 2015/16 Budget

February 20, 2015

Following the delivery of the 2015/16 Budget by Finance Minister Bob Richards this morning [Feb 20], both Opposition Leader Marc Bean and Shadow Finance Minister David Burt provided initial responses, with the PLP’s full Reply to the Budget set to be delivered next week.

Shadow Finance Minister David Burt said, “In his third Budget Statement the Minister of Finance has embraced ideas that he once attacked, ignored the fact that jobs are still being lost, and increased taxes on paychecks, land, gasoline, and tourism.

“The Minister now embraces increasing taxes during a recession, suspending public sector pensions, broadening the tax base, and ending payroll tax concessions; all proposals that he has attacked in the past.

“There are tough choices that need to be made, but this budget once again focuses on cuts and does nothing for growth. The lack of a growth strategy is laid bare by the fact the Minister neglected to mention that the National Economic Report released today confirmed that 790 jobs were lost in 2014.

“We must put the needs of our people first. Next week the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party will lay out an alternative vision forward for our economy; a vision that embraces the bold ideas that will enhance the Bermuda economy and thus the lives of our people.”

Opposition Leader Marc Bean reacts to today’s budget:

When asked for his initial thoughts, Marc Bean said, “My initial thoughts is that the One Bermuda Alliance have proven that they are not capable of navigating Bermuda out of the storm that we find ourselves in. And I want everyone to read and listen closely to what the Minister of Finance has presented.

“It’s absolutely stunning. It has a negative effect, not only for business, but also for the everyday citizen.

“I’m absolutely shocked that he would go so far as to increase taxes across the board, and also has indicated that he will be exploring the introduction of what appears to be value-added tax.

“There are other jurisdictions whereby Bermuda can learn valuable lessons as to the pitfalls of value-added tax.”

“Likewise, their two-pronged strategy has proven to be a failure,” Mr Bean added. “They do not want to diversify the economy and they’re focusing on a growth strategy that, in a lot of ways, is based on a fairy tale and has no concrete reality behind it.

“For instance, they’re naming different projects in the hospitality industry that’s supposed to inject $930 million into the economy but, outside of the America’s Cup and the Greens’ expansion at Hamilton Princess, the other five or six or maybe seven projects are merely projects on paper.

“And so that tells me that, as fair weather pilots, we are in a hurricane and we have captains and pilots in our cockpit that are not capable of navigating us through the storm.

“So I want to encourage persons to listen out for next week’s analysis by my Shadow Minister of Finance David Burt, where he will lay out the alternative plan and vision of the Progressive Labour Party to what appears to be fiscal water-boarding – a policy of fiscal water-boarding without any rational basis for the direction in which the Minister of Finance wants to go.

“It’s really haphazard, and it shows that the OBA do not have the plans or the capability of strengthening our economy and creating jobs.”

View all our coverage of the 2015 Budget here and our live blog covering the Budget here.

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Comments (57)

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  1. As Leader of the Opposition Party, (Progressive Labour Party) Mr. Marc Bean has the audacity to insinuate the One Bermuda Alliance Government are incompetent :-( Was it not the P.L.P. that got Bermuda and its citizen in this rut? Tell us a.s.a.p. how would you and Mr. Burt go about getting Bermuda up on an even keel if not by raising Taxes?

    • Coffee says:

      So with your logic did George Bush get America into a rut ?

      • Thanks Coffee! says:

        You’re absolutely right for once, George Bush did get America into a rut! His Republican Party turned a budget surplus into a deficit by increasing spending (in their case on wars, not on unnecessary civil servants.)

        • Coffee says:

          Wow , you departed from your usual spiel , blaming President Obama for everything negative… I guess it suits your narrative for now , tomorrow you’ll remember and curse yourself for falling into a simple mind trap .

          • Thanks Coffee! says:

            Who blames Obama?

            Oh that’s right, you think everyone who disagrees with you is racist.

            • Coffee says:

              Rarely do I respond to race baiting , but in this instance I’ll depart from my better judgement .

              You are what you think , defined by what you say/post . If you happen to be a racist , own it . All I ask is that if you haven’t already , do not pass it (the disease)onto your offspring , you’ll do a great disservice to future generations of kinsman .

      • Unbelievable says:

        haha yes you fool.

      • serengetiperson says:

        Take a look at the “GDP Growth” slide on the Deloitte budget infographic. That shows how much of a mess the PLP made of the economy.

      • Serious Though says:

        “My initial thoughts is that the One Bermuda Alliance have proven that they are not capable of navigating Bermuda out of the storm that we ….

        someone finish this [first replace "we" with PLP]
        have fun ..

      • BoolaKaCha says:

        @Coffee…the US is in recession because of how they wasted their money as well. At least they are spending Billions every Day on a war! Where did our money go. What project did the PLP use this money on? Where is the eight hundred million that is missing?

    • Mockingjay says:

      Well Scotland Yard found no wrong and the world wide Recession got every country in a rot.
      Dont forget the CEO of the B.T.A gets paid $1,000 a day.

      • You don't get it says:

        He is paid less than that, but it is really beside the point. He is paid under the average for his position. The BTA pays what it needs to attract talent and experience.

        Also many countries escaped the recession relatively unscathed.

        • Mockingjay says:

          AHH, I’m a high school drop out but let me take a STAB at this.
          His annual salary is $295,000 + $75,000 for housing allowance which adds up to be $370,000 .
          There are approximately 365 days in a year so give or take that’s roughly about $1,000 a day.
          Oh I forgot he gets a POTENTIAL 30% bonus.
          AHH that is the POINT.
          NEXT

          • BoolaKaCha says:

            @Mockingjay. Let me do some math for you. $800 million missing / 14 years in power $57,142,000 / 365 daays a year = $156,555 missing for every day they were in power? And we have no idea where it went?

            So Mockingjay, does that bother you at all? If the PLP couldn’t account for that money EVERY YEAR would you say it was incompetence , or maybe something a bit more sinister? I await your response!!

  2. Terry says:

    How the hell can the PLP reply so soon.
    Did they know prior what was going to happen?

    Bloody garbage.

    Shows how they evaluate everything.
    15 minutes of fame without even digesting what was said and it’s stats and impact.

    Marc Bean needs to rid himself of a cellphone and twitter and sit and take it in.

    Rumm all around.

    • Mockingjay says:

      Is this guy still looking under the HOOD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Yahoo says:

      Knee jerk reactions by the PLP to anything the OBA does.

      If they think the OBA didn’t do anything in their budget (which I tend to agree with), provide some real solutions Bean and Burt. And not your airy fairy ideas – real, actionable solutions that will have a meaningful impact on Bermuda. You can’t.

    • Longtail says:

      Terry: Bean and Burt only prove Napoleon was right……… “In politics stupidity is not a handicap”.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      They knew it was going to be hard budget, the Minister hasn’t been left with much choice, he warned us about this as far back as the election. The PLP just prepped their usual lines about how the OBA is clueless and we can save the day. The truth is that with this budget, Minister Richard’s has shown more foresight and fortitude than any PLP Finance Minister or Shadow Minister has ever, now and in the past; and has made as much of an attempt as is possible in our economic environment to not hit anyone too hard. The fact remains is that this budget was going to hurt, didn’t matter who was producing it, and whether it will succeed or not will only be shown as the year progresses. Say what you want, but Minister Richard’s has shown the fortitude to give this country the truth, which is more than the PLP even did, or even still today, has.

  3. somuchless says:

    Yawns.

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

    How did we get in the hurricane Beanie!?

  5. North Rock says:

    I don’t know how I will sleep over the next seven nights waiting to see this bolt of lightning that presumably escaped the PLP for 14 years…The Bold Vision- The alternative to the Evil Bob Remedy !!!!!!!

    Burt…if you dont come up with facts and numbers….do not waste my time ….or the rest of Bermudas.Between you and Zane, we are about to experience another warm water eddy….

  6. jt says:

    I hope he didn’t stay up late coming up with all his analogies.

  7. wwatcher says:

    “My initial thoughts is that the One Bermuda Alliance have proven that they are not capable of navigating Bermuda out of the storm that we find ourselves in” don’t you mean that your party and the vast majority of your parliamentary colleagues left us in, frittering the countries resources away like drunken sailors?

  8. aceboy says:

    “My initial thoughts is that the One Bermuda Alliance have proven that they are not capable of navigating Bermuda out of the storm that we find ourselves in. ”

    Found ourselves in? Yes, after your party’s government PUT US THERE. Your party couldn’t navigate itself out of a paper bag.

    “There are other jurisdictions whereby Bermuda can learn valuable lessons as to the pitfalls of value-added tax”

    You didn’t want to hear about the pitfalls of a PPP re the hospital that we could have learned from other jurisdictions. The OBA is EXPLORING the option not running into something that is not adequately researched….like you guys did and for which we will pay dearly for decades.

    “For instance, they’re naming different projects in the hospitality industry that’s supposed to inject $930 million into the economy but, outside of the America’s Cup and the Greens’ expansion at Hamilton Princess, the other five or six or maybe seven projects are merely projects on paper.”

    That’s 2 more ongoing projects than the PLP have or had. Projects on paper were the PLP’s specialty. Like sea-bed mining or long line fishing.

  9. Former Union Member says:

    Regretfully Mr. Burt continues to use words such as stunning, negative, failure…and my favorite, “Fiscal Water-Boarding”. The loyal opposition is mired in language of the past. It would be incredibly refreshing to have an opposition that tries to help our community rather than throwing the same old tired words out there. I may not be happy with some of Mr. Richards statements, or believe them (for example Immigration is even more mired in red tape than ever) but compromise is often defined as a solution that no one is happy with.

  10. This is why you messed up the first time says:

    There is a difference between planning for growth and balancing a budget. You cannot include projected growth in an annual budget, you have to work with what you have. So while the OBA is busy with many initiatives trying to stimulate economic growth, the budget has to be about reducing the current deficit. The deficit that is largely due to an overinflated civil service hired by the PLP.

  11. serengetiperson says:

    Since the BIU increased dues by 17% four months ago, maybe Chris Furbert can explain to Bean how cost increases can be justified, since Bean is pretending to be ‘shocked’.

  12. Claude says:

    If your main income source has been driven away, and you’ve maxed out on your credit card, what would you do Mr Bean?

    You have no clue.

  13. High Road says:

    Thanks guys but No thanks. Ive seen your “vision” for the economy and don’t want a repeat. Carry on OBA.

  14. North Rock says:

    Marc Bean should hit the comedy trail. His attempt to sound…is making me burst with laughter. When I read his dribble i think just who in the world…maybe even the universe…would agree to pay attention to Marc, Burtsie and Zane as opposed to the other side.

    Did the PLP even understand half of what Bob said or, far more importantly, DI NOT say ??

  15. SMH says:

    Big fat yawn

  16. San George says:

    No layoffs – more creative tax.
    Junkfood/sugar tax
    Cut rental subsidies – let rents find their own level
    Higher fuel tax
    Increase/double cell phone tax

    Much rather pay more tax and have work, then to see people without work.

  17. Onion says:

    PLP misses its budgets by hundreds of millions of dollars year after year and then has the audacity to accuse the OBA of incompetence?!

  18. aceboy says:

    http://bernews.com/2011/02/report-recovery-unlikely-until-2012/

    This came up as a “related article”. Have a read and a chuckle…or cry…whichever.

  19. Enough says:

    Bean makes it quite clear he has no comprehension of economics.

    Bermuda should never have been put in this mess in the first place and now we need to dig ourselves out of it.

    If he thinks that increasing taxes during a recession does not produce results and has a negative impact on the economy then I suggest he looks at the measure Ireland put in place in 2010 when their economy had collapsed. EVERYONE in the country sucked it up and got on with it and now the economy is thriving once again. It’s not pretty but for a few years of cut backs and making changes in order to get the country kick started once again then everyone needs to be a part of it. Including the PLP.

  20. Navin Johnson says:

    Only a handful of people really care what Burt or Bean have to say. ..they are irrelevant and incompetent and the PLP caused every economic problem that we find ourselves in….

  21. LostinFlatts says:

    ‘Fiscal water-boarding’.

    To quote someone to whom the technique was administered: “Unless you have been strapped down to the board, have endured the agonizing feeling of the water overpowering your gag reflex, and then feel your throat open and allow pint after pint of water to involuntarily fill your lungs, you will not know the meaning of the word.”

    So excuse me, Mr. Bean, while I sincerely suggest you pick more appropriate language with which to make your allegories. I understand that you prefer to deal in emotive, entirely made-up similes, but perhaps you could try and and be ever so slightly more sensitive?

    If a politician in the US were to say use that term, he’d be out of a job in an hour.

  22. Sandgrownan says:

    Bean – bigot and homophobe.
    Burt – hopelessly out of his depth.

    How about an apology. That would be a good start.

  23. Living Pay Check to Pay Check. Just working to survive. says:

    I will agree this is a harsh budget, and a really hard pill to swallow at the moment. My first reaction was how can we in this community come up with even more money to give to Government. But if you sit back and think about it a little, we have no choice but to continue the sacrifice that we have endured for years already. I am not happy that I will be making even less than I make now, but for the benefit of this island and the future of our children we really and truly do not have a choice. It is difficult, we have all been struggling for years already and now they the Govt. are asking us to struggle even more. It will not be easy that is for sure. My family have sacrificed trips, going out to dinner, etc and after a while it becomes frustrating and depressing. I just hope that we make it through the other side here to better days. But more importantly I do hope that the OBA is not giving up empty promises on all these big builds coming up and like the PLP they all fall apart.

  24. Unbelievable says:

    Bob said in the House of Assembly years ago when he was in Opposition that if Bermuda keeps spending like it was at the time, we would be in a bad situation. He was right all along.

    That bad situation is here.

  25. Happy says:

    wha wha wha

  26. nomoremoney says:

    “Fiscal waterboarding” says Marc Bean.

    I think I was Fiscally waterboarded just watching our debt grow to 2 BILLION.

  27. steve says:

    I don’t have a great opinion of the OBA. I listen to my friends and associates criticize them frequently and its all interesting and good.
    I usually cringe when the opposition ridicules the government.No shame? not a shred of responsibility for today’s budget?
    Start with “some party members made bad decisions in the past” a soft admission/no harm done.That statement might get me listening again.
    Also: stop beginning every press release with (paraphrase)-”gov has no new Ideas and has no plan” while it may be true, it tells me that your party doesn’t have the creative ability to rephrase the same point or approach it from another perspective in order to win over voters, let alone have the creative ability to come up with meaningful positive ideas for the country.

  28. Happy says:

    Bermuda owes lots a money and gots ta pay it back simple as that the credit card is maxed out capish !

  29. Dylan says:

    Marc Bean and Mr Burt haven’t a clue …. plain and simple

  30. steve says:

    Hey men, show us your shadow budget with all the great ideas. How about a shadow idea? Who among us would your party have squeezed?? Relax,you don’t have to hurt anyone with a budget of your own. Keep moving your lips and saying nothing.

  31. I am still furious at how the PLP managed our economy. During times of plenty, they over spent like drunken sailors. They kicked out our expats with narrow minded policies like “term limits”. In 1998, Bermuda was set up to succeed. They literally dismantled a successful system with their xenophobic, anti foreigner rhetoric and policies.
    How sad that each and every one of us allowed it to happen.
    You get the government you deserve. We clearly deserved the PLP and now the chickens have come home to roost.
    Lastly, stop talking about a world wide recession as the excuse. Asia, Central America, South America, The Middle East, Canada etc never saw a recession. Our depression that we are still in was self inflicted with our ill thought, anti foreigner policies.

  32. RockWatcher says:

    Correct me if I am wrong did the PLP put us in this messsssss….and they have a better plan RIGHT…..

  33. Ed Case says:

    Typical PLP-tard response. They are beyond pathetic.

  34. Ed Case says:

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

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  35. Bermuda123 says:

    Why don’t we all refuse to give any air time to anything the PLP says? Their views are not relevant for the next 3 years, so let’s just ignore them. The OBA will either show huge progress in the next 3 years (.which I personally believe) or they will not. However, at the very least they are not making anything worse. Ignore the PLP noise as they are NOT the Givernment of the day and can do nothing other than blow smoke right now. Let’s all get down to business and get behind the only plan that is relevant for now – Bob’s plan.

  36. Investor says:

    Let’s vote the PLP in so we can become third world.

  37. God 1st says:

    LOL