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Miller Against Vat Increase

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GOLDEN Isles MP Vaughn Miller.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

GOLDEN Isles MP Vaughn Miller yesterday became the third Free National Movement member of Parliament to publicly oppose the government’s impending value added tax increase.

Mr Miller said he does not support VAT being raised to 12 percent, adding families across the country could not afford the tax hike. Mr Miller said his constituents have advised the increase is too high and should be implemented incrementally.

Mr Miller yesterday joined Centreville MP Reece Chipman and Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine, all members of the Free National Movement, who have opposed the move.

On Monday, Long Island MP Adrian Gibson called on the government to delay the increase to give persons time to prepare.

Mr Miller said in Parliament: “Golden Isles cannot support this increase in VAT from 7.5 percent to 12 percent. It’s too aggressive, it is too much, it is too soon. I am merely the conduit, I am merely the messenger, I have made a vow to speak as they asked me to speak. I am their servant.

“Personally, I think this form of taxation as has been stated before is regressive and repressive and the poor and middle class will have to carry this burden disproportionately. A more fair taxation to me would be a form of income tax or even payroll tax where you can exempt persons below a particular salary scale. This is too burdensome on the poor and the middle class and small and medium sized businesses.”

Earlier yesterday, Attorney General Carl Bethel said the country is suffering “fiscal illness,” adding it is better for all Bahamians to shoulder paying off the nation’s debt.

Mr Bethel said the VAT increase was in the government’s view “the most painless” way to arrest government debt.

He was responding to questions from the press on a recent Public Domain poll which found that 76 percent of respondents said they oppose the 2018-2019 budget.

Mr Bethel said: “We’ve reached a stage in the Bahamas fiscally in terms of where the government is in terms of its obligation and the fact that nearly $800m has to be used to pay either matured debt or interest on old money borrowed decades ago sometimes that’s already been spent. When you look at the traditional sources of revenue they are not enough to cover these obligations that have been incurred by previous governments including previous FNM governments.

“So we have to do what is right for the Bahamian people. We have to do what is right to restore financial balance and sanity in budgeting in this country. We cannot continue to borrow our way out of debt. It is impossible to borrow your way out of debt and if you cannot borrow your way any further because every time you borrow you increase your debt then you have to find some other way to re-balance your expenditure.

“We think we found the most painless way, even though it is painful, there is no question the 12 percent VAT with this extra 4.5 percent. We all have to pay that including we who make the decisions,” Mr Bethel said.

“It’s painful but no one can get rid of the kind of fiscal illness affecting this country without some degree of pain and its better for all of us to shoulder our equal share of that pain since we’ve all over the decades enjoyed the benefits of government spending based on deficit financing by borrowing borrowing borrowing, to do all the things we have demanded governments to do.”

Comments

stislez 2 months ago

Why they don't tax the damn chinese? The Chinese don't contribute to our communities.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months ago

You ask "Why?". I will tell you why. Our governments, both FNM and PLP alike, would rather give bountiful generous concessions to the Chinese and then tax the death out of us poor Bahamians.

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Socrates 2 months ago

This is all quite curious. We have a party system and many of them were elected because of their party affiliation despite what they may think. So when is a party, no longer a party? how long can you disagree on substantive policy and still be a viable group? Getting to grips with debt is not easy, but either you agree its a problem or you dont. Seems this is a key plank of FNM gov't policy and as such should be unanimously supported by all FNM members. I would say the in-house naysayers are basically showing no support in their party leadership. Where is the whip party leader?

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DDK 2 months ago

The MP is voting on behalf of his constituents. Government BY THE PEOPLE. This is what happens in a DEMOCRACY when new and drastic measures are dished up without preamble and discussion with The People whose Time It Is.

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bogart 2 months ago

....this is the quandry ....the PROSPECTIVE CANDIDATE whether or not nomimated by a party.....has to get the majority of the constituency voters to vote for them...they personally have to speak and win that constituency voter over....and to see that person for FIVE YEARS...listening, trying to make their lives better...versus.....those who are serving the Party line....there are big differences between constituencies and what may benefit say an equal number of affluent constituciencies may not benefit the other poorer constituencies...another quandry is that the Majority of MPs will belong to one large island and those in the archepalago several smaller islands are paying their taxes ..same equal Consumer taxes at the same rate...but may get shut off from development....

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TheMadHatter 2 months ago

Socrates - do you not believe in democracy? If all FNM MPs are simply warming a chair and raising their hands saying yes to whatever bills the Party brings forth - then we don't need them to "represent" a constituency.

We could just have a PM and a bunch of tape recorders or parrots. The batteries or bird seed would cost less.

I applaud MP Miller for being a real rep of his people, having a backbone, and being a man.

Kudos to you good Sir !!!!

I support the 12%, but it is not up to me. It should be up to the great people of this country.

The following protest took place about 3 days ago in London after a journalist was jailed without charges and the news outlets were threatened by the Govt to not report on the "arrest".

Could Bahamians ever have this much backbone? Perhaps with MP Miller setting an example we can. I encourage you all to take a few minutes and watch some of the video. I was told the other day by another frequent pundit on here that we only had 3,000 people on "We March" because we didn't offer free beer. If that is true then Bahamians deserve to lose their country and serve whichever masters they allow to import whips duty free.

https://youtu.be/O6WBcBzy8GU

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TheMadHatter 2 months ago

HOWEVER, i strongly disagree with this statement by him "... a form of income tax or even payroll tax where you can exempt persons below a particular salary scale."

NO !!!

That kind of thinking is why we have so many poor people now. The more you make it advantageous to be poor, the less incentive poor people have to become rich.

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bogart 2 months ago

EXCELLENT POINTS FROM one MP VAUGHAN MILLER.

PROBABLE ONE OF THE FIRST DESPITE SO MANY OTHER FIAANCIAL TAXATION Experts snd mathematical businessmen on his party TO MENTION THE OPTION OF... .INCOME TAX..!!!!!

Next to jave chosen to listen to the some 5,000 voters in his Constituency rather than the 32 or so colleagues.

Both forms and other forms of taxation should be viewed....AND ....added credits can be added to encourage business growth say $..........back refund for businesses expanding in family islands...those opening in family islands...those hiring x number of staff, opening in depressed areas

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TheMadHatter 2 months ago

...and, as usual, Carl Bethel hits the nail right on the head. It is time to pay the piper. All dem sidewalk contract has come home to roost. All dem tissue and joy what is go out the public schools janitor room with the cq helping to load the van late at night - yeah dem - it's time to pay for dem.

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Socrates 2 months ago

my point is simply this, how does a party pursue and implement its policies if it can't even get its own members to support them, much less opposition members.. maybe we ought to become a republic then.. let the PM and his cabinet create policy and see if they can convince the other elected folks to back it.

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Porcupine 2 months ago

Nationalize the web shops. Take all those buildings and use them as voting booths. In today's day and age, do we really need representatives? I don't think anyone can represent my views. My wife and son say I'm crazy anyway, so who would want to try? I can speak on my own behalf, thank you very much. Or, should we use all this impressive technology only for gambling and porn?

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bogart 2 months ago

YES YES YES...now we are getting someplace Socrates and Porcupine...we are an archepelago .wid separate islands...each island requiring own infrastructure etc..unless we join dem all up by road but still have some challenges....perhaps we can look at the Swiss type of government...more democracy

As is we hsve the MP elected by a 5,000 constituency answerable to that Constituency, people and needs with a paid for Salary, pension, perks, 9 to 5 open Constituency Office paid for by the taxpayers.........and .....on the other side we have their political party and party line and the campaign campaining funding and free teeshirts an piece of macaroni, chicken wing, rally wid music, Party leader hugging you and asking how yer children doing, how yer grandma (dey gets this info from yhe generals not like dey personally know yer grandma but its very impressive dey asking) once every five years. Voting fer Party ...or...voting fer Constituents....in an archepalago different islands...different Constitutiencies, some very affluent...many others dead pore different needs....then making the challenge worser is dat many MP may not live in their own pore constitutiencies but in the rich ones.......???!!!!!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months ago

I agree that the current regressive taxation regime is infair and therefore unsuitable. But any effort at this point in time to replace it with a progressive income tax regime of the kind found in more developed countries would be like putting dynamite in the hands of young children. Our successive spendthrift governments have demonstrated that they are simply not responsible enough to oversee the implementation and administration of a progressive income tax regime, mainly due to the failed two party political system we have been saddled with for decades whereby incompetent imbeciles are typically nominated to run for elected office.

For the time being a 10% VAT with no exemptions could work, but only if accompanied by sustained belt tightening aimed at significantly (and painfully) reducing the size of our grossly over-bloated public services sector by as much as one-third or more over the next two to three years at most. And of course the scourge of the criminal empires run by the numbers bosses would have to be dealt with, in large part through much higher taxation then even currently proposed and by the establishment of a completely tax-free national lottery initially operated by reputable and seasoned foreign lottery experts from Canada or the U.S.

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