Video: OBA Deliver Budget Reply

March 4, 2022 | 1 Comment

[Updated] One Bermuda Alliance [OBA] Leader Cole Simons is set to deliver the Opposition’s Reply to the Budget in the House of Assembly today [March 4], responding to the 2022/2023 Budget delivered by Premier and Minister of Finance David Burt last week.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the replay is below

Update: The full Reply to the Budget follow below [PDF here]:

Update: A Government spokesperson said, “Statements on Bermuda’s fiscal & regulatory position are closely scrutinised by international and domestic audiences and so parliamentarians and especially those holding constitutional offices have a responsibility to be accurate.

“In light of statements made today by the Leader of the Opposition in Bermuda’s House of Assembly, there is an urgent need to quickly correct factually incorrect statements that were made during the Reply to the Budget issued by the Opposition Leader and Shadow Minister of Finance.

“EU Code of Conduct [Page 4]:

The Opposition Leader stated: “I have been advised that yet again Bermuda missed a deadline for its commitments to the E.U. Code of Conduct Council.”

“This claim is 100% false. At the direction of the Premier & Minister of Finance, The Opposition leader was given a briefing by technical officers in the Ministry of Finance on February 21st, where the question regarding a missed deadline was asked by him. Public Officers told him that was not correct and explained that there is no deadline that was missed. The Deadline he is referring to is an OECD Deadline that is in April 2022. The items required by Bermuda to meet that deadline have already been satisfied and were satisfied prior to the meeting with the Opposition Leader.

“Payroll Taxes [Page 5]:

The Opposition Leader Stated: “Table XI shows that those employees earning $48,001 to $96,000 had an increase in their payroll tax rate. It went from 8.5 per cent to 9 per cent in this year’s budget. The Premier gives with one hand and snatches with the other.”

“The Budget book on pages 46 & 47, the same Table XI that the Opposition Leader refers to shows that anyone making less than $96K gets a tax reduction. It is 100% false to say that people earning b/w $48K & $96K will see their payroll taxes increase.

“Gaming [Page 15]:

The Opposition Leader Stated: “some stakeholders believe that the overarching Gaming Commission legislation must be amended so that the Commission is independent of government influence and interference. It should include the removal of the requirement that a government representative sits on the Board of the Commission.”

“The Legislation that governs gaming in Bermuda has similar provisions to the Bermuda Monetary Authority and there is no interference in regulatory activities by the Government. Further, there is no requirement in the Gaming Act 2014 that has a ‘government representative’ of the board of the Bermuda Gaming Commission as stated by the Opposition Leader.

Gaming Act 2014 [PDf]

“Bermuda’s Debt [Page 23]:

The Opposition Leader stated: “Bermuda’s debt continues to rise unabated. As I mentioned earlier this year, Bermuda can expect that our national debt will hover around $4 billion during the next fiscal year.”

“Page 28 of the Budget states Bermuda’s net Debt is forecast to peak at $3.18 billion in fiscal year 2023/24, before declining in the following years. Bermuda is not forecast to exceed the statutory debt ceiling of $3.5 Billion.

“Sinking Fund [Page 24]:

The Opposition Leader stated: “Why is the PLP Government raiding the Sinking Fund? It went from $231.61 million in 2021/22 to $161.01 million, estimated for 2022/23. This is a reduction of $70 million or 30 percent.”

“As highlighted in last year’s Budget Statement, budget deficits are funded from the sinking fund, and not by additional borrowing. In August 2020, the Government of Bermuda borrowed money at low interest rates to fund future deficits. The reason there is a decline of $70 million in the sinking fund for fiscal year 2022/23 is that there is a projected deficit of $70 Million in that fiscal year.”

click here Bermuda 2022 Budget

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  1. Watching says:

    The most immature and personal budget reply ever. Embarrassing. OBA needs to switch it’s leader/finance minister NOW! I understand they suffer from a lack of options but this ain’t the move. On top of it being immature, he was actually wrong on many things.

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