Time to tax higher earners
3 March 2014
Today's headlines in your newspaper that Health Minister Trevor Moniz has indicated cuts to his Ministry of $17.6m will cause some patients, particularly the elderly, to suffer distress has prompted me to write this letter.
While the “current” Government continues to insist that our economic crisis rests solely at the feet of the “former” Government, the reality is that approximately 50 percent of our circumstances are as a result of the worldwide recession caused by unscrupulous US bankers and the likes of Madoff.
Austerity measures aimed mostly at the working class and lower income families to rein back our national debt are not the only solutions to rescue our Island. It is absolutely abhorrent that anyone should suffer while there are many among us who enjoy opulent wealth.
Taxes aimed at the higher income individuals on the Island as well as wealthy land owners need to be raised and neither the OBA nor the PLP have the leadership skills to make this apparently necessary step to economic recovery. You can call me a socialist and I will gladly accept the title.
Persons that earn $70,000 annually can afford to be our brothers and sisters keepers by paying $100 a month higher on taxes. Persons earning over $70,000 to $100,000 can afford to pay $150 in higher taxes, persons earning $101,000 to $150,000 annually can afford to pay $200 in higher taxes, persons earning over $150,000 to $200,000 can afford to pay $250 more in taxes monthly and finally persons earning over $200,000 can afford to pay $400 more in taxes monthly. Families earning less than $150,000 to be excluded from higher taxes could be single parents, physically challenged and those financially supporting parents or other extraneous circumstances.
A progressive tax needs to be introduced on home ownership. Persons who own more than three homes should see a five percent tax increase on properties four to nine. Persons that own 10 to 15 properties should have a 10 percent tax increase on each. Persons that own 16 to 20 properties should see an increase of 20 percent tax on each. Persons with 21 to 29 properties should see a 30 percent tax increase on each property.
The revenue raised from increased taxes on high earners and property investors will be proof that the wealthy are making just as much sacrifice as the rest of us. Twenty-five percent of this proposed tax revenue could be used towards necessary government services that SHOULD NOT BE CUT with the other 25 percent applied on our national debt.
The probable amount of civil servant job cuts required is about 800 staff in Government. So the remaining 50 percent of tax revenue should be set aside to support those civil servants in re-educating, redirecting their careers, starting small business and helping them meet their mortgages and putting food on their table and meeting insurance costs. Yes, that's right, I repeat, being our brothers and sisters keepers.
As far as Bermudians who own 30 properties and more, excluding Sir John Swan and Fernance Perry, most land wealth of this magnitude was gained off the backs of slavery and handed down through generations; or because of unfair leverage that white Bermudians had when blacks Bermudians weren't allowed to work in certain job categories. For example, when my parents immigrated in the 1950s, black Bermudians were not allowed to work in the hotels with the exception of entertainment. Bermudians that own 30 properties and more should see an increase of tax by 40 percent and the proceeds of this should go in a separate fund to educate and facilitate the upward mobility of low income families and the poor. It will also force these land owners to sell off their properties as they attribute to the reason why the cost of purchasing a home in our Island is among the highest in the world.