Chamber Of Commerce Response To Budget

February 22, 2019

“Growing the economy is job number one and we applaud the Minister for presenting a 2019-2020 Budget that seems to steer clear of stalling the economy by increasing taxes on many businesses,” President of the Chamber of Commerce John Wight said following this morning’s [Feb 22] budget.

Mr Wight said, “The Minister of Finance has delivered a 2019-2020 Budget Statement that strives to address the concerns of many stakeholders. It’s a delicate balance, and for that he is to be congratulated.

“After the Tax Reform Commission’s Report and the Pre-Budget Report, Bermuda’s business community had concerns about potential punitive new taxes and increases to existing taxes that were being considered. Overall, this Budget has allayed those fears.

“Growing the economy is job number one and we applaud the Minister for presenting a 2019-2020 Budget that seems to steer clear of stalling the economy by increasing taxes on many businesses that can ill afford to pay more.

“The Budget presented an accurate view of the considerable local and global risks that the Ministry had to take into account. With international business being a primary driver of the economy and a large employer of Bermudians, being considered a non-cooperative tax jurisdiction is not an option that Bermuda can risk taking–Bermudian jobs would be lost for certain.

“As the Minister underscored, the $2.5 billion Government debt is a huge concern that cannot be ignored. At the same time, the primary objective for 2019–2020 has to be growing the economy. Government wisely decided that this is not the year to impose a greater tax burden on the current taxpayers.

“Diversifying the economy has been Bermuda’s biggest challenge for many years. It remains to be seen whether Bermuda’s economy will grow or contract from 2019 through 2020, however it is pleasing to see at the outset a Budget that provides tax incentives for new businesses to employee people.

“Every organization in Bermuda, where private or public, should be striving to improve fairness, efficiency and effectiveness on a continual basis. In this regard, Members of the Chamber welcome the Minister’s statement that Government will be launching a public service reform initiative.

“In addition, the Minister should be applauded for this year’s Budget taking steps to address the outstanding collection of debts owed to Government, and implementing controls to ensure that taxes in the future are paid on time. This issue of non-payment of required taxes has been a source of concern for the majority of taxpayers who comply with the rules and regulations.

“Budgets are only as good as the accuracy of the assumptions and projections underlying them but if, this time next year, the Minister can report the budget surplus of $7.4 million that he is estimating for 2019-2020, the Chamber will be greatly encouraged.”

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Comments (18)

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  1. Open for Business? says:

    This is a great start and the Gvt should be commended for recognizing the dire state of the country’s affairs and not punishing the tax payer.

    That said there are gate keepers in place in Bermuda to vet new business coming into the country and those gate keepers at times are creating too much friction and creating a situation that makes Bermuda not business friendly.

    We must walk the talk.

    Are we open for business?

    • Anonymous says:

      Not punishing the tax payer huh? You must be drinking the kool aid mate. Did you forget about the sugar tax, land tax increase, foriegn currency purchase tax, our health insurance premiums going up again and heres a stealthy one, business owners will not be able to use credit cards to pay their taxes anymore which will increase the cost if those business owners were making use of cashback rewards.

      When are you lot going to wake up? I guess its ok if you’re getting screwed if the one in charge looks like you huh?

  2. Not exactly says:

    What is he talking about? The Minister is raising taxes by $39 million including commercial rental tax!

    • Onion Juice says:

      That works out to be our annual lose from Airport revenue.

      • Come Correct says:

        The airport has never made that much. Stop lying.

        • Pork & Bean says:

          Lying, exaggerating is what Onion Juice has a history of doing

          • Mike Hind says:

            He’s not getting enough sleep, what with being up all night spray painting grocery stores…

          • Onion Juice says:

            Thats what we will be paying every year for 30 years, Dreamers.

            • Anbu says:

              Jesus christ u are stupid arent u oj? Please stop lmfao. Nobody takes u seriously. You have nothing to offer EVER. You are the epitome of what is wrong with this country. U are a SHEEP. Go lay down bie. U believe everything those dummies up on the hill tell u. Just because THEY tell u. Why dont u get educated. Bda college aint too expensive u know. Even for an old fart like u. Or are u just too lazy? Im going with the latter.

  3. John Wight has used the word “seems”in his opening comments about his response to the budget.
    The wealthy MUST be taxed. There is no mention of that. TAX THE WEALTHY.
    OBA did too many disaster money blunders , and will not get free of that. America Cup was a pack of sheer nonsense , designed for “FUN” directed at WEALTH in this small island.
    John Wight has spoken about Bermudians who work for International business , if the finance Minister had delved into taxing those businesses, Bermuda being a non-cooperative tax jurisdiction,many Bermudians could see their jobs axed.
    HHmmm..what about John Wight himself??
    Would he lose his job too??
    For anyone working in the business sector, at any time, a Bermudian or even scores of foreigners could be out of jobs. He targeted Bermudians.The foreigner should be booted out first.
    Lastly, he spoke of fairness, equity…that is impossible. Too many racist whites on this island.
    The P.L.P. government cannot just go by the one voice of John Wight. He is far from superman. He is just a commoner, like the rest of us intelligent people.
    Positions held by ALL, can be eradicated at the snap of a finger OR at the point of a natural disaster striking Bermuda. NO money there!!!!
    All lives LOST!!

  4. inna says:

    Pander, pander, pander Mr. Wight. I feel sorry for you !

    • Really says:

      Or maybe he is telling the truth. You know that thing called honesty something you OBA lot know nothing about…

  5. Keepin' Real!...4Real! says:

    Why borrow money…when you can just take it from us.

    Reality check…Our grand babies won’t even be able to pay back bermudas debt…so run that b!t@# and ease the people up for a change…This floundering Fiat currency is about to go down hence the new craze for digital currency…and guess what ..All debts will be wiped clean…New fresh start with your implanted rfid chip.

  6. Joe Bloggs says:

    A very diplomatic response Mr. Wright. Thank you.

    • Ringmaster says:

      A diplomatic response is a large part of the problem. The Chamber needs to say it like it is. Government expenditure has to be cut, and cut by at least 10% a year now and at least 5% going forward. It won’t be easy or popular but for the sake of the future of Bermuda it has to be done. The OBA should have done it starting in 2012. The PLP will never do it because it will be unpopular and lose votes. The tax base is shrinking every month with the aging population. Sooner rather than later cutting expenses will be forced on the Government, if not locally then by outside parties.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        I disagree. It is open to our government to continue on its present course and further devalue the Bermuda dollar. If that is what the majority of people want then that is what we will get. Your way only appeals to a certain segment of society.

  7. No justification says:

    What is the justification for mortgage assistance in the public sector? There are so many Bermudians struggling to make ends meet and here we are giving financial assistance to the laziest work force on the planet. The minister should be arrested for this unconsciouble act of cronyism.

  8. sandgrownan says:

    Disagree with John Wight. It’s a *shrug* response for a meh budget.

    Curtis had little scope for manoeuvre, and he pushed the hard questions out down the road. It will raise the cost of living, does nothing for business.