Nation e-Edition



By Dawne Parris | Sat, November 03, 2012 - 12:10 AM

A senior university lecturer says the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) tax-cut proposal is an election gimmick, and has issued a warning against privatizing state enterprises that provide social services for the masses.

Professor of Economics at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Michael Howard, yesterday gave a thumbs down to the BLP plan to restore the Value Added Tax (VAT) to 15 per cent, give a land tax ease, introduce a new tax rate for middle-income earners, and make allowances tax-free again if it is returned to Government.

He said such large tax cuts were “a relic of supply side economics of the 1980s” and not the answer to the country’s current economic problems.

Opposition Leader Owen Arthur outlined the plan at the party’s 74th Annual Conference on Sunday, promising “an immediate and comprehensive reversal” of the Democratic Labour Party’s policies if the BLP wins the general election due by next year.

Please read the full story in today’s SATURDAY SUN, or in the eNATION edition.

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Posted by Carl Harper 1 year, 12 months ago
In 1994 it was also said that returning the draconian eight per cent salary cut handed to public workers by the DLP three years earlier was an elections gimmick.

What we saw was Owen Arthur and the Team for the Times not only giving government employees their monies back but passing legislation making it impossible for Government to ever cut their wages and salaries again.

Enough said.

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Posted by John Da Silva 1 year, 12 months ago
Whoever wins the next election, they MUST look to improve efficiencies in the public sector, even if jobs are lost. The country can no longer afford to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into state run enterprises to keep them afloat.

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Posted by David Brathwaite 1 year, 12 months ago
The Barbadian electorate put more faith in proven experience than in academic pronouncements.

In addition, the new found voice of of criticism on the part of Professor Howard could not be heard when outrageous promises were being made in 2008, so it rings a bit hollow and insincere at this time.

No doubt there will continue to be challenging times ahead and the solution rests with a national consensus on the hard decisions that will have to be made going forward. But the present government has shown no leadership in this direction.

The government's prescription is a dour and bleak forecast of dwindling prospects and higher prices and taxes to keep the economy "stable". But the stability they speak of is haemorrhaging foreign reserves, decimation of the productive sectors, increasing unemployment, skyrocketing prices and appalling taxation.

For these reasons I think Bajans are prepared to give the BLP the opportunity to try their approach.

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Posted by Andrew G Carter 1 year, 12 months ago
Wait, is this the said, same Dr. Howard who said that the VAT should not have been increased. I swear I remember reading his statement to this effect in the other daily. I going have to find it because this is not making sense to me now. But then again it is the silly season, n'est pas?

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Posted by David Hall 1 year, 12 months ago
Mr. Howard, with all due respect; but running a country and running a classroom are not the same. There is a chasm between theory and practice.-In1994, following layoffs in the public service, the eight percent wage cut and the collapse of the Sandiford administration Owen Seymour Arthur came to power promising to restore the island to economic prosperity. One of his major themes back then was “job #1 is jobs” I still recall the skepticism back then which greeted Mr. Arthur’s pronouncement. Fourteen years later History has absolved him. During his leadership, the country enjoyed some of the greatest economic prosperity a country has ever known and we remained the envy of those near and far. Opportunities, jobs and finances were in abundance and we accepted that he was the right choice in difficult times. It is against this background that I do not in any way feel that Mr. Arthurs promises of Vat reduction and Restoration of allowances to be in any way Election gimmicks. I honestly believe that if there is any group of persons in Barbados right now, which is capable, or rescuing Barbados and restoring it to economic viability it is the management team of the Barbados Labour Party led by Mr. Owen Arthur and Clyde Mascoll. I am confident that in due course full details of plans and proposals for achieving his stated goals will be made clear. Some may argue that times have changed from the 1990’s when Mr. Arthur first took office, and so they have, yet, as two prominent radio announcers recently put it, ‘Mr. Arthurs work and speeches currently on the functioning of the Barbados’s economy should be required reading for all’. A statement that speaks to the fact that Mr. Arthur is still very informed and capable of guiding our economic recovery.

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