OBA tax plan would burden business PLP’s David Burt
The Progressive Labour Party yesterday criticised the One Bermuda Alliance’s “unfair tax scheme” saying it will increase taxes on workers and some small business owners.
A press released issued by the party on behalf of candidate David Burt last night also indicated that OBA candidate Bob Richard had criticised the PLP’s payroll tax relief. But, according to Mr Burt, small business owners were quite happy with it.
Mr Burt said: “Once again the OBA has rushed out with a half baked, ill conceived, unfair scheme that will cause taxes to be raised on both workers and some small business owners.
“The OBA’s sloppy and unfair plan expects workers to bear the burden of payroll taxes while a select few of the OBA’s business friends get relief.
“That isn’t standing strong for Bermudians, that is standing on Bermudians.”
At a press conference last week, Mr Richards had defended the OBA’s proposal to offer payroll tax relief to employers who take on new Bermudian hires, saying it was a job and revenue enhancer that differed from PLP schemes which offered tax relief to entire sectors whether the businesses “hire or fire people.”
The PLP’s release quotes two businessmen — Kevin Hill and Jay Riihiluoma — saying they had made considerable savings under the PLP’s payroll tax relief.
“Under the OBA’s misguided plan, both small business people like Mr Riihiluoma and their employees would see their taxes raised if the business isn’t actively hiring.
“This would be a terrible idea and one that not only hurts workers, but, hurts Bermudian small business owners as well.”
But Mr Richards responded last night by saying that the governing party’s latest attack was a distraction tactic.
“The OBA plan gives payroll tax breaks to employers for every new Bermudian hired.
“This is a job creation plan — a classic win-win situation, whereby an employer gets an incentive to hire an unemployed person and the unemployed person gets a job because of the incentive,” he said.
“This Government is so desperate to distract people from the fact it has presided over a catastrophic loss of jobs for Bermudians, that it is now attacking a good idea to get Bermudians back to work.
“We have faith in the people to see through the nonsense.
“Some 10,000 Bermudians are unemployed or underemployed. The OBA will put in place policies to get Bermudian back to work, and the two-year payroll tax exemption for all new Bermudians hires is one.
“The Government, on the other hand, has said nothing to the people about how it plans to make this economy work again for them.”
The PLP also hit out at what they say is the OBA’s tendency to change their positions.
“After repeatedly denying the significance of race and describing it as ‘a distraction,’ now the both ways OBA leader is talking about overcoming racial disadvantage,” said a spokesperson for the governing party.
“We believe that this latest switch is a desperate attempt to deflect from the serious questions surrounding the OBA and their unwillingness to come clean about who they really are, who they really represent and what they really stand for.
“It is expected that Mr Cannonier would try to deflect attention, especially after he embarrassed himself last week when he spoke out so defiantly against ZBM’s report to have a copy of the UBP now OBA post 2007 strategy document calling it a ‘fabrication’.
“On that night ZBM news revealed, for all of Bermuda to see, that the UBP’s secret strategy document was not fiction, and had been written to three men who now sit as candidates for the OBA.
“The Progressive Labour Party does not need to ‘demonise’ or ‘stereotype’ Mr Cannonier, because he alone is doing sufficient damage to himself and the credibility of the OBA.
“Our one piece of advice to the OBA Leader would be to open his eyes and face the reality, and remember that history has a tendency to repeat itself.”