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BE OUR GUEST: Death by taxation seems sure


BE OUR GUEST: Death by taxation seems sure

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I listened with interest, but not much surprise, to Minister of Education Ronald Jones’ latest pronouncement, which was carried on the CBC Evening News of Wednesday, April 2. In it, he proposed the introduction of a social amenities levy to sustain the present level of health care and to fund tuition for those in tertiary education.
As I heard the minister speak, I was taken back to an occasion in November last year when trade unionist Walter Maloney of the National Union of Public Workers “suggested that people considered middle class were now in a position to find their own way after decades of accessing taxpayer-funded services”.
In my reply in this newspaper, I made the point that I wasn’t aware that being middle class and being a taxpayer were mutually exclusive; in other words, middle class Barbadians are already paying, through their taxes, for these amenities which our politicians are so quick to describe as “free”. I do not propose to reiterate further.
It now seems eerily apparent that certain “suggestions” we hear from authority figures are, in fact, muffled declarations of a fait accompli, a done deal. In this instance, education has now been coupled to health care in this “social amenities levy”.
I know better than to ask whether our political directorate is aware of the burdensome levels of taxation which already obtain in this country.
The increase in VAT, now seemingly permanent despite assurances of its 18-month duration, the municipal tax, the abolition of a swath of allowances, wage freezes, unrelenting increases in the cost of living and most recently, the introduction of the 20 cent cess on gasoline, all speak for themselves.
Presumably, this should tell us that the much vaunted Barbados Revenue Authority, which we were told would streamline and greatly improve the efficiency of Government’s revenue collecting capacity, and also bring under its umbrella many tax-delinquent individuals, businesses and corporations, will do nothing of the sort.
I wait to see, within the next few months, the extent to which the present measures will fail to reach their stated objectives.
Meanwhile, it seems that death by taxation is the only show in town! Dr Sherlock Bradshaw is a dentist who practises in Barbados.