OBA’s Reply to the Budget in full
Cole Simons, the leader of the One Bermuda Alliance, today delivered his party’s Reply to the Budget.
He said the One Bermuda Alliance would implement the following:
• Develop a glide path to balance its budget within three years and reduce the reoccurring current account deficit and ultimately our current national debt level.
• Reduce the size of the government through offering early retirement and through attrition, as the human resource cost is approximately 40 plus per cent of the current account expenditures.
• Apply more diligence and provide better management to recover the millions of dollars owed to the Government in accounts receivables with assistance previously offered by our IB sector.
• Expand Bermuda’s workforce by relaxing immigration policies so that it is easier for job creators, executives, entrepreneurs, and high net worth individuals to migrate to Bermuda and thereby create jobs.
• Reintroduce the travel authorisation fees which can be embedded in ticket costs or collected on arrival in Bermuda. (Supported by IB)
• Examine the possibility of introducing a minimal VAT tax on healthcare services.
• During these challenging times and the high cost of living, we would suspend Bermuda’s Foreign Currency Purchase Tax. The problem with this tax is that it increases the cost of all the goods and services that Bermuda imports from abroad, it is excessively regressive, and it has a multiplier effect which means that the relatively small revenue it produces for Government might lead the average person to think that its impact is small.
• As an example, if we consider the cost of Belco's fuel is increased by the amount of the FCPT and that means that the cost of electricity is increased not just by the amount of the FCPT but also by the multiple of Belco's profit margin. The same applies to our 32 Supermarkets and a reduction of our food costs.
• We would reinstate an Economic Development committee or council, made up of Global C Suite CEO’s from IB, the Government, and other stakeholders. The mandate would be to develop a true economic recovery plan which will benefit Bermuda economy and Bermuda’s corporate citizens, be they local or international.
• We would provide added resources to the Bermuda College and the Workforce Development team, to train and retool our students and employees for any newly created jobs in the private and public sector.
• Reassess sin taxes on cigarettes, and spirits
• Provide resources to the agricultural and the fisheries industries to entice job creation and help food security
• In accordance with the reports and recommendations produced by the Fiscal Responsibility Panel and the Tax Reform Commission, and with feedback from the public and the International business sector, the One Bermuda Alliance would also examine, define, and implement the most equitable, fair, efficient and transparent tax system, to serve the needs and people of Bermuda today and into the future, and not a structure which was crafted to serve the needs of Bermuda’s past and its legacy
• We would also consider the G20/OECD Global Tax Initiative which addresses domestic tax base erosion, and profit shifting to multinational enterprises to end tax avoidance
• To make commercial and residential construction cost more affordable, immediate attention would be given to updating Bermuda’s 2014 Residential Building Code Book which is a couple of cycles overdue. In addition, the same should apply to Bermuda’s Commercial Building Code to ensure that it adheres to the International Building Code standards and protocols. These reviews should not only be reviewed by the Architectural Board, but also by a newly formed Electrical Engineering Board who represent the electrical engineering sector
The full response can be seen below, under related media. Mr Simons withdrew a comment about the Premier’s private wealth on Page 3 on the advice of the Premier.
The response can also be read in our live coverage of the House – which can be read here.
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