Rowley sees no lower taxing
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad – People should not prepare themselves for lower land and building taxes, says Opposition Leader Keith Rowley.
“You mark my words. The same thing that happen with the pension will happen with the property tax,” Rowley said on Monday.
“But I will await the budget [today] to see what it says,” he added.
He was asked to comment on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s announcement that the land and building tax would be reduced and there would be a moratorium on the payment of these taxes for this fiscal year (2010).
Speaking to the media on Sunday, Persad-Bissessar stated that government was reverting to land and building taxes, and that Cabinet had decided to lower the land and building taxes because the former People’s National Movement administration had revalued lands and the prices were increased.
“So even going back to the old land and building taxes, people will be paying more. So what we decided to do is we’ll lower the rates. So we are lowering the land and building taxes . . . .
“[And] for 2010 there will be no (land and building) taxes, we are not going retroactive . . . we will begin from 2011, so you have a moratorium for 2010 in a sense,” she said.
However, the statement has puzzled Rowley. He noted that three months after assuming office, the government still had not repealed the Property Tax Act, which it had promised to do. “The lower rate of land and building taxes (to which the Prime Minister is referring) is to lower to what?” he asked.
He said her statement did not say whether the valuations (done under the PNM) would be altered. He called on the Prime Minister to explain whether it would be a lower rate on a higher (valuation) figure.
On the moratorium, he said the question had to be asked why, in a budget in which government was stating that it was hard-pressed to find money, it would give away a $100 million in revenues foregone from this year “on a tax that everybody is accustomed to paying” – land and building taxes.
“So the more they try to become smart, the more they are playing the fool, with foolishness and all because they would not speak the truth. So don’t be surprised if they come with another argument saying we didn’t promise so and so . . . on the property tax. They are just not to be trusted,” he said. (Trinidad Express)