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OBA: ‘Premier did not deliver Budget for the people; but instead an election Budget’

Cole Simons, the leader of the One Bermuda Alliance, holds a press conference after the Budget was delivered in the House of Assembly (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Lifting the payroll tax ceiling to $1 million could drive away foreign investment and jobs, Cole Simons, the One Bermuda Alliance leader, has suggested.

The OBA leader claimed the Budget showed that the Premier was “out of touch with reality” and nobody could believe a word he said.

Mr Simons said the creation of a new tax band for earnings between $500,000 and $1 million meant it was “quite frankly a possibility” that the move could prove counterproductive and drive investment away.

He said that after meetings with leading international business groups in the run-up to the Budget he was left with the impression that “their primary issue as far as their members are concerned is the cost of doing business in this country.”

The OBA leader suggested that Mr Burt may have caved in to international business pressure by not bringing in further levy rises on higher earners, paying for the elimination of payroll tax completely for those on less than $48,000 a year, which had been floated in December.

He said: “I also take the view that he over-promised and when he rolled up his sleeves and did the numbers he found that he could not afford to provide that option for those people earning less than $48,000.”

Mr Simons said the Budget offered “little hope” for the future.

He told a press conference: “The Premier did not deliver a Budget for the people, but instead an election Budget. Full of promises but really nothing for us to believe that better days are truly coming.

“Premier Burt and the Progressive Labour Party are not in touch with reality.

“How can the Government believe that the economy is fine while people are continuing to struggle to survive and many continue to leave the island on a regular basis?

“It’s easy for Premier Burt to make numbers appear positive when comparing them to those accrued during Covid.

“Saying everything is fine does not make it so. It shows the people of Bermuda how tone deaf the Premier is to their issues.

“We are well past the time of believing anything he says.”

Mr Simons said the Premier had not delivered on promises over the proposed Fairmont Southampton hotel revamp, and dismissed plans for the Morgan’s Point site as a “pipe dream”.

The OBA leader added: “The PLP does not seem to care about the health and wellbeing of the people of Bermuda. There is no mention of healthcare reform.

“There’s nothing that speaks to the thousands of people who have left Bermuda who felt there was no hope for them on island.”

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Published February 18, 2023 at 7:51 am (Updated February 18, 2023 at 7:51 am)

OBA: ‘Premier did not deliver Budget for the people; but instead an election Budget’

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