Regional

Northeasterners rap Government over ‘wicked’ tax package

Tuesday, March 21, 2017    

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TAXES amounting to $13.5 billion were included in a package tabled in the House of Representatives earlier this month by Finance Minister Audley Shaw.

The tax package includes revenues from: increase in Specific Special Consumption Tax (SCT) on fuels totalling $7.4 billion; General Consumption Tax (GCT) at 16.5 per cent on group health insurance, to bring in $1.8 billion; reducing the threshold for the application of GCT on consumption of residential electricity from 350 kwh (the unit of energy used) to 150 kWh per month, to bring in $1.4 billion; increase excise on pure alcohol from $1,120 per litre to $1,230 per litre, to earn $403 million; increased motor vehicle licence fees of 20 per cent to earn $464 million; and reimposed withholding tax on general insurance premiums paid by Jamaican residents to non-residents at a rate of 15 per cent, to earn $990 million.

The Jamaica Observer North East team asked Jamaicans in St Mary, Portland and St Thomas how they felt about the proposed taxes.

Here are their responses:


DENMARK BUDDOO

Bus driver

Dem people deh a mad people. Dem wicked. Taxes run di country but it nuh affi suh bad pon poor people. That’s why mi avoid politics.

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ANDREW CLARKE

Taxi driver

It bad man. It bad pon we. If gas a raise and taxes a raise, our fares can’t stay the same. A long time gas a raise and nuh fare nuh raise. It put pressure pon poor people still enuh because fi dem pay naah raise, but wah we a go do? Sometimes dem short we but we still carry dem because we cyaa lef’ dem a road. Our fare a $200 now so maybe dem put on $50 pon it. The licence fee is a next thing, it nuh affi go up.

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ANTHONY MAXWELL

Bus driver

Anything weh dem wah do dem do. We nuh have nuh talk over dat. The previous Government weh did in deh did the same thing and this ya one a the same thing, suh what we going do? We just affi buy or lef’ it (gas). Mi would be in support of a fare raise because everything raise up. See cigarette a sell fi $70 and $80. Rum raise; everything raise, suh we need something to. Licence raise, a madness the Government a gwaan wid. It nuh make sense yuh go inna Government a promise people one bag of things and can’t fulfil it. So now you raise things and a stress out people. It cannot work.

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MONIQUE MCFARLENE

Teacher

I feel rather distraught because it means now that I will be going home with a lot less than what I have with the bills I have to pay. So maybe I should just stop working. We can’t afford it. Tax on electricity and I’m already paying over $11,000 per month? Let’s not talk about the little insurance! They’re going about it the wrong way.

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BERNICE NEIL

Businesswoman

Dem tax ya a go kill we. Mi not even a sell nothing fi pay tax. A two light bill mi affi go pay and one a dem alone a $15,000 now. Mi soon affi go lock down mi business because nothing naah gwaan fi mi a pay more taxes.

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DWAYNE RICHARDS

Taxi driver

Tax affi pay. Inna 2012 a litre of gas was fi $128. How much for a litre of gas now? Gas a less than that now suh tax fi pay. The only thing is that Government a put too much pressure pon motorist because the insurance a motorist, and the tax a motorist, and the gas a motorist. I think if people did a see weh di tax a go dem wouldn’t frown, but dem naah see it.

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KENNETH MYERS

Bus driver

We need a 25 per cent or 30 per cent increase because taxes gone up. Taxes affi pay still, but at the same time remember the people dem who you a ask fi pay tax. Is about four or five years now we a absorb cost. We can’t absorb it anymore; it a go inna the likkle profit. Right now mi affi go renew mi road licence and a $52,500, then you have 20 per cent gone on pon dat, then insurance. But mi nuh think Government could do it differently still. Dem smart, because yuh affi tax the things weh you know people a use. That mean seh yuh budget naah go shortfall next year.

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ELTON CLARKE

Musician

Taxes are necessary. It’s good that the Government taxing things that will hurt people like cigarette and alcohol. Yuh nuh affi drink and yuh nuh affi smoke. Dem never affi tax light bill, but a suh.

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MARLON LECKY

Businessman

This is a likkle country area and business very slow. Mi used to sell everything and I had to stop. Dem want too much money through the tax system and people not earning enough to pay them. Yuh have to be paying bills and not many people working. It’s unreasonable.

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