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BDA still believes revenue will fall short

The Bermuda Democratic Alliance said it still believes Government will not meet revenue projections for the fiscal year.

Last week, Premier and Finance Minister Paula Cox said Government had collected $446 million in revenue between April and September.

She added that this was $15 million, or 3.5 percent, higher than the corresponding period in 2009/10.

The 2010/11 Budget outlined Government expected it should earn $1.058 billion in revenue for the entire fiscal year, which ends on March 31.

BDA's spokesman on finance, Michael Fahy, said this meant Government was approximately $83 million short of where it should be at the halfway point.

He added: “Whilst we recognise that there is still six months to go and not all revenue collection arms will have reported, we do not believe that Government will be able to make up the severe shortfall.”

Ms Cox responded by saying Government planned to earn a significant chunk, $63 million, of revenue in January when international business taxes are due.

Yesterday, Mr Fahy said despite the fact that certain taxes have not yet been collected he still believed revenue would not meet the prediction.

“We remain very concerned that the revenue projected will be severely short, with the low-end of the scale being $892 million and the upper end being in the region of approximately $970 million taking into account revenue from international companies, which will also likely fall short of projections,” he said.

“The fact is that whilst the six-month revenue collection is reportedly 3.5 percent higher than last year, given that the budget projection is seeking a 13.3 percent revenue increase, a rise over six months of only 3.5 percent is not good by any stretch.

“We stand by our view that there will be a revenue shortfall based on the projections. Perhaps the Honourable Premier will advise the Country prior to the budget two things that will assist us in getting an even clearer picture of the state of the Island's finances.

“What is the public expenditure to date?

“What is the current state of the public sector pension funds?”

Mr Fahy added that Ms Cox's reply to his comments did not state she was confident Government would meet its predication. He also stated Ms Cox did not explain how Government was instilling strong financial discipline at all levels.

“The fact remains that Bermudians are not doing as well as a few years ago. More children require school breakfasts and at least one Government Minister is admitting there is no money in the public purse,” he said referring to Minister Derrick Burgess' comments that Government has no money left to fix accident blackspots such as Crow Lane.

“Some in Government will try and have you believe that the Government has done nothing wrong in managing the public purse,” Mr Fahy continued. “It simply beggars belief. The sums don't add up. There is however one thing that is consistent across the board it is apparently always someone else's fault for where we are today.

“The only way to fix the problem is to first acknowledge that there is one. That time has come.”

Chairman of the Bermuda Democratic Alliance Michael Fahy and BDA party leader Craig Cannonier.

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Published December 14, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 14, 2010 at 8:07 am)

BDA still believes revenue will fall short

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