Taxi drivers need more help, former senator says
The hard-hit taxi industry should get a tax concession from the Government, a former senator has said.
Dwayne Robinson, an ex-OBA member of the Upper House, said the $1,000 payroll tax that drivers have to pay was “a nail in the coffin” that had hampered efforts to rebuild tourism after the massive damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Robinson highlighted that the tax was reduced to $500 last year to help out drivers – and asked for the concession to be continued this year.
He asked: “How can the Government say it’s committed to creating avenues for economic recovery yet at the same time putting barriers in place to make it harder?
“Recently, we have had a number of taxi drivers express their dismay at having to pay the $1,000 payroll tax in addition to their licensing fees, despite most barely making it through the pandemic – which still is not over.
“Last year, drivers were given a $500 reprieve. Why can’t it continue for another year?
“Where is the compassion? Why can’t drivers be given some sort of relief, at least until 2022. The taxi industry has been struggling. The last thing it needs is a nail in its coffin.”
Mr Robinson added: “It has been predicted that tourism in Bermuda may not bounce back for at least another year, so why treat taxi drivers as if it already has?
“Many drivers may not be able to make the payment.”
He asked: “How can we rebuild our tourism product with the loss of several taxi operators?
“Why haven't the taxi drivers been considered by the Premier as the minister responsible for tourism?”