Turn-over Tax increase: a knee-jerk reaction by the NA/Heyliger/Laveist coalition says DP


We have to conclude that the government of Sint Maarten is facing some serious financial challenges. The SBDF (Small Business Development Foundation) has now joined the chorus of government not meeting its obligation to foundations; the saga of the on-and-off acceptance of BZV and FZOG cards by pharmacies and other medical institutions; University of St. Martin’s latest financial dilemma. All foundations, mind you, that are on government’s budget.

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Another sign of government’s financial woes , is the government’s decision to increase the TOT with 1 percent as reported.
The island council of Sint Maarten is yet to receive this proposal of the NA/Heyliger/Laveist government as any budget amendment must pass through the island council. It is only in this setting that the government can look the people of Sint Maarten in the eyes and defend its decision to increase taxes at this time.

The argument that it is not the first time such a proposal has been made will not fly. Just like the work permit policy of January 2009 was to be part of a total package of measures to address labor issues of employers and employees alike, so was the proposal for a TOT increase part of a package that would have included economic stimuli for the business sector. After all, a most crucial component of the economy in these times is employment, which generates consumer spending and additional tax revenue.

Given the adverse affect of a tax increase in the current global financial environment, the DP administration in the past openly discarded this intention, because of its understanding of the effects of such on the economy of St. Maarten.

Better than any-one perhaps, the DP also understands the government’s mitigating circumstances, however government’s decision to increase taxes is not well thought out. It’s not a balanced decision, but rather a knee-jerk reaction to its failed 2010 budget.

Was this what the 3-man team that came to assist St. Maarten advised?

The NA/Heyliger/Laveist coalition assumed government responsibilities, promising to execute the economic stimulus package. They have cleverly managed to abandon this entire matter of an economic stimulus package and no one uttered a word for have been taking for a ride by the government of St. Maarten.

And to imagine that the current Commissioner of Finance was one of the principals of the economic stimulus package.

But is the government really facing financial challenges? Notwithstanding the foregoing (USM, SBDF, SCDF, BZV/FZOG, TOT), it would appear not.

How else can it be explained that the Commissioner of personnel would travel with a 4-man delegation to Tallahassee to enlighten students. Tallahassee, a city where in the past few months the leader of government has gone twice to speak to students. One could then only imagine that the Commissioner of personnel would now have concrete and individual prospects for the Sint Maarten students. Was this the case? Absolutely not. Did the commissioner have a plan for the students to match their individual careers with the vacancies in government? He did not.

The government in responding to the DP faction in the island council announced an improved and revised incentive package for returning St. Maarten students. Where can this package be obtained, besides a vague reference by the Commissioner in an island council meeting? Is this package complete? Has it been provided to the students on paper? What are the conditions and who is eligible?

Can the government provide a report on this trip, rather than just a photo op? In plain St. Martin English: "How we looking?"

Bottom line: Is the government in a financial crisis?