Member of Parliament George Pantophlet says that it is a matter of enforcing the existing laws. The cost of living on St. Maarten is becoming more critical as time goes by.
He says that he will continue to insist that taxes owed prior to 2005 be written off. He also insists that there is a need to amend the collection ordinance as soon as possible. He understands that taxes must be paid but the ordinance should more reflect the tax payer’s ability to pay when it come to arrangements. The idea that the receiver’s can put a lean threaten and take away or seize your home or walk into your house and take what they want according to a law that is older than Methusaleh to him is cruel. The taxpayer should be allowed to pay what they can afford. He also considers the argument of Member of Parliament Jules James that writing off taxes prior to 2005 as punishing the persons who have already paid and rewarding those who never paid their back taxes a lack of foresight. We cannot change the past only the present. What he considers to be punishment is that today because of the neglect by former governments of the Netherlands Antilles in equipping the then Inspectorate of Taxes on St. Maartento carry out their responsibilities the people is pressured. The writing off of these taxes will make available funds which can be used for investment and job creation. The goal should be to create a positive environment by cutting the cost of business and people. What also has to be seriously addressed is government waste. On another note while he congratulates the controllers who are doing their best with limited staff and equipment, he is calling on government to allocate funds within the Budget 2011 and soon 2012 to the Economic Affairs Department to increase staff in order to carry out stricter and consistent controls. Every cent less that consumers have to spend may be it on food items, gasoline, cooking gas will make them better able to cope with the high cost of living. He received the answers he posed to the Minister of Economic Affairs Franklyn Meyers during the Budget 2011 discussions. However the Minister did not answer the question on how much was being collected from businesses who request to open beyond the regular hours. The Minister’s response was persons requesting a perm it to open after regular hours have to pay naf 150,-. The Member of Parliament states that he will be sending another letter to the Minister requesting this information. In addition to that it turns out that according to the Minister of Economic affairs the controlling of the gas cylinders to ensure that indeed they weigh 100lbs is not under his responsibility. What the Member of Parliament will be requesting of the Minister is then whose responsibility is it. With regards to the gas stations, the Minister claims that whenever fuel prices change the pumps are calibrated. In his letter to the Minister the Member of Parliament states that he will be requesting a report at least from January 2011 until July of the dates the calibrating was done and by whom. Finally it would be interesting to find out what the weight of these gas cylinders are prior to being filled and if the cylinders are all of the same weight. And finally the Member of Parliament says that if his memory serves him right one has to pay a deposit for the gas cylinders. The deposit is only reimbursed if the cylinder is returned. Then the question is what are we paying for? Remember every cent counts.