OBA leader denies backing for income tax
The Leader of the Opposition tonight denied that the One Bermuda Alliance supported the introduction of income tax.
Cole Simons said that claims by David Burt, the Premier, that the idea had bipartisan support was false.
He added: “I flatly refute David Burt’s claims that the OBA is in agreement with the Progressive Labour Party’s agenda to implement personal income tax.
“On that issue he stands alone. His claim of our allegiance is both misleading and divisive.”
Mr Burt said in a speech at the opening of the PLP’s annual conference on Wednesday that a fairer tax system was needed – and that reform may include the addition of a tax on income.
The Premier said: “When the leader of the One Bermuda Alliance joins the leader of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party in supporting the Fiscal Responsibility Panel’s recommendation for tax on incomes, then clearly we are past talking about whether or not it is time.”
Mr Simons said earlier this week that the present tax system was unsustainable.
He added: “I further stated that based on recommendations from the Fiscal Responsibility Panel, there will likely be an increase in the taxes we all currently pay – that is, payroll tax, land tax, licensing fees, customs duties and foreign currency purchasing tax.
“To reiterate, the OBA is not in agreement with the Premier’s agenda to implement a personal income tax on Bermudians – period.”
Jache Adams, the PLP MP for Pembroke West, fired back last night that Mr Simons had backed away from a statement he made on Tuesday where he said the tax structure was “crafted to serve the needs of Bermuda’s past”.
Mr Adams said: “Just two days after agreeing with reform, Cole Simons is now running away from his statement because there are too many supporters of the OBA who do not like what the Fiscal Responsibility Panel has recommended, which will make Bermuda fairer and reduce income inequality.
“Nowhere in the Fiscal Responsibility Panel's report does it advocate for an increase in payroll taxes, customs duties or land taxes as the Opposition Leader has shockingly called for in his statement today.
“Those increases will only increase the cost of living in Bermuda.”