Election 2020: Bean backs tax cuts
A reduction in taxation levels is needed if the economy is to recover, the leader of the island's newest political force said this week.
Marc Bean, of the Free Democratic Movement, said his party's action plan for kick-starting the economy included the elimination of the tax on sugar and on dividends as part of a larger plan to cut the tax burden.
He added that a range of other proposals, including a reduction the cost of government and easing the regulatory burden on businesses and individuals were also “necessary to enable Bermuda to initiate an economic recovery”.
Mr Bean said: “There are three areas that signify to any population a government's intention to stimulate a pro-growth environment — reducing the cost of government, reducing taxation and reducing regulation.
“One of the biggest concerns in Bermuda for all walks of life is that the cost of living in Bermuda is unbearable.
“The primary reason for that is the cost of government is too high. If we can reduce the cost of government, we can reduce the cost of living.”
Mr Bean added: “The second pro-growth policy is reducing taxation, the tax burden on the citizens of a country.
“With limited resources, the people who generate income are in the best position to decide what to do with their money, and that is to save, invest or spend it.
“By lowering taxation, it leaves more money in the pockets of citizens.
“They might want to invest in a small business, or pay for their child's tuition.
“No government has the power to determine for someone what is best for a person other than the person themselves.
“Reducing taxation is a natural stimulus to the economy. It increases aggregate demand and spending while at the same time stimulating savings and investment. Those are all areas that Bermuda desperately needs at the moment.”
Mr Bean said: “Regulation speaks to the burden of government on the backs of the people. There is a culture of saying ‘no' and telling people they can't do something.
“When creativity and innovation is stifled, it has a negative impact on people's ability to feed, clothe and house themselves.
“Less regulation is about telling the people of this country ‘yes, you can' instead of ‘no, you can't'.
“Especially in this post-Covid-19 environment when unemployment is high, people are looking for ways to generate income.”
He added: “Government, if it can't help you, can at least not hurt you — and that means getting out of the way and allowing people to do what their heart desires, as long it doesn't harm someone else's property or person.”
Mr Bean said the FDM economic plan also involved development of the island's physical capital “via a private-sector-led infrastructure strategy”, and implementation of “an open yet rational immigration policy”.
The plan also included the diversification into new sectors “with an emphasis on the digital, green, blue and orange economies”.
The World Bank said the “blue economy” involved the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem”.
The “orange economy”, sometimes referred to as the “creative economy”, is a term attributed to British writer John Howkins.
Mr Bean said the FDM's plan also included implementation of the party's “vision on education reform”, and to “listen to and facilitate our existing international business community”.