Miller poses tax alternatives
CNS): In a broadcast address to Cayman on Friday night Ezzard Miller posed a number of alternatives to the premier's plans to tax foreign workers. The independent member for North Side said direct taxation would “kill the goose that has been laying the golden eggs for Cayman” and offered a number of other ideas. Miller suggested McKeeva Bush scrap his Nation Building Fund, introduce a legalized lottery and to take 2 cents from the spread on US-CI transactions. He also said that Bush should address the culture of dependence and reassess the 8,000 people collecting government welfare.
Miller called on the premier, once again, to re-centralize government functions with amendments to the Public Management Finance Law and the Public Service Management Law to cut operational expenses. He accused Bush of failing in his role as minister of finance and suggested he re-assign that ministry to Rolston Anglin.
But as well as criticising the premier's performance and his latest tax idea, he offered a number of solutions. The independent member said the problem with the budget wasn't the sustainability of revenue but the un-sustainability of the patterns of expenditure.
“How can you possibly rationalize the selling of the police helicopter, without consultation with law enforcement, to save $1.5 million while retaining your $4 million Nation Building Fund to influence votes,” he said. “I believe most Caymanians would prefer to use one third of your Nation Building Fund to fight crime rather than give it to churches to build edifices unto themselves at great cost to our local social environment.”
Answering Bush's complaint that the opposition benches don’t offer any solutions he proposed that government reduce the 4 cents spread introduced by banks in 1968 on the US-CI dollar exchange to 2 cents and collect it from the banks into governments revenue.
“This will have no negative effects on the local economy or personal income streams, if anything it could have a small positive effect by reducing the cost of living by 2%,” he said. “The government will collect much more revenue from this than from your community enhancement fee with no additional cost or further increase in the civil service numbers.”
He also suggested legalizing the local numbers lottery game and charge a 25% license fee, which would, Miller said, also generate much more income than the community enhancement fee and not require additional civil servants to administer.
Miller called on Bush to find the hitherto lacking political will to cut the civil service by amending both the public finance and the public service management laws to re-centralize government finances to reduce the number of human resource staff.
“Mr premier, don’t continue to dismiss these cost reduction suggestions on the weak allegation that Caymanians will loose jobs. There are adequate jobs in the private sector occupied by work permit holders that these Caymanians can get if you are willing to cancel the work permits,” Miller stated.
He added that the short term loss in work permit income would be outweighed by the long term gain in the reduction of the civil service and improved administration, accounting and management.
Miller called on Bush to return to the drawing board over the budget and the new pay roll tax, as he pointed to unjustified expenditure as the source of the government's problem, and not revenue sources.
See Miller's full statement below.
|Ezzard Miller's response to premier's tax on expats 27th July 2012.doc||18.72 KB|
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