PNP Patriots demand new tax deal from Gov't
KINGSTON, Jamaica — People’s National Party (PNP) affiliate, the Patriots are demanding that the Government present a new tax deal to the Jamaican people.
A similar call was made by Opposition leader, Portia Simpson- Miller and Opposition spokesman on Finance, Dr Peter Phillips in their contribution to the 2017/2018 Budget Debate last week. Both argued that majority of Jamaicans get no benefit but are hit the hardest by the JLP's tax plan.
Chairman of the Patriots, Javette Nixon said "this forsaken majority includes the poor, working class folks, young professionals, small business operators, students and low-income earners”.
He said that every Jamaican now deserves to benefit from growth opportunities, not just a few. Hence, Prime Minister Andrew Holness in his contribution to the Budget Debate tomorrow must use his presentation in the debate to announce a rollback of taxes announced by Audley Shaw, Nixon reasoned.
The Patriots chairman said the rollback must include the new taxes on group health insurance and electricity even if it would result in delaying the implementation of phase two of the $1.5 million tax plan.
“The Patriots believe that Mr Holness should appreciate the far reaching harmful effects of taxing the light bills of thousands more working class homes and small businesses, even as bread winners prepare for higher transport costs to come from increased gas taxes.”
The group, which represents the interest of young professionals, want more to be spent on the ailing health, security and education sectors, now facing real declines possibly threatening the mortality, safety and independence of Jamaicans who are unable to afford “private sector care”.
Nixon is proposing that as the Government moves towards indirect taxation, they must be guided by the factual message from Dr Phillips that, “people with lower incomes consume a greater portion of their income than high wage earners”.
The young professionals have proposed taxes on sweet and carbonated beverages (not including locally produced natural juices), and the introduction of a partly returned levy on some plastic bottles to generate revenue, address environmental issues and create a new industry.
“The Patriots are insisting that increasing and enforcing the minimum wage is now more urgent than ever before, with well over half a million Jamaicans defined as poor by the PIOJ. As far as Nixon and the Patriots are concerned, they all embraced a covenant with Dr Phillips under the Economic Recovery Programme, and now deserve a better deal.”
The Patriots also called for the planned $11 billion raid on the NHT to be dedicated to significantly increasing the number of low income units available to contributors, and to finance the construction of ‘lease to buy homes’.
The young professionals want the Finance Spokesman to: (1) oppose plans to add the Tourism Enhancement Funds to the Consolidated Fund, (2) refuse to support the withdrawal of National Housing Trust funds in stable economic times and (3) insist that the National Health Fund remains dedicated to purchasing critical drugs for the most vulnerable Jamaicans.