Categorized | National News

Turnquest Calls Gov’t Tax Relief “Laughable”

Deputy Leader of the Free National Movement (FNM) Peter Turnquest last Wednesday demanded that the government lower taxes for Bahamians.

Focusing mainly on taxation on vehicles and bicycles, Mr. Turnquest, during his contribution to the debate on the 2015/2016 Budget Communication, said this year’s tax relief in the form of lower duty rates on vehicles and bicycles is “laughable.”

“How often does the average Bahamian family buy a new or, used car for that matter,” he asked.

“Secondly, for those who purchase a new car, what is the percentage that buys a car at the previous top rate of 85 per cent versus the proposed flat rate of 65 per cent? Seems to me, all the government has done, is to provide a tax break for higher income wage earner who can afford a big or expensive car and the little guy, who may ordinarily buy a car in the lower existing 65 per cent duty class, gets no break at all.”

Mr. Turnquest stated that with the social standings of many Bahamians, it is not often that families buy cars. However, he feels that something should be done to the public transportation system that will benefit a larger number of citizens.

“I don’t see anything here regarding reducing the cost of bus fares or finally creating a unified bus system to make public transportation safe and reliable, or gasoline price reductions such that fares can come down,” he said.

“Indeed, I see instead where the PLP government is proposing to add a one cent gasoline surcharge tax per gallon on imported fuel instead. Yes, they are proposing more taxes on an already overburdened gas price at the pump. Something is wrong with this Mr. Speaker.”

Mr. Turnquest suggested that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) does not have the good of the country at hand. He said they failed to mention an extra tax that will be placed on vehicles.

“This PLP administration is once again trying to play a shell game on the Bahamian people,” he said.

“Getting us all excited about the so called reduction in the duty on cars, when the cars most of us could afford were already at the proposed 65 per cent concessionary rate, without telling us that they are increasing the cost of gasoline at the pump, the cost of maintenance and insurance on that car, plus the cost to ship the car to the island on top of all that. I guess that’s why they made bicycles duty free. At the rate they are taxing us and running this country, that may well be all we could afford or maybe that’s part of the new National Health Insurance Plan.

“But it does not stop there Mr. Speaker, they also neglected to highlight the fact that there is now a $10 import security fee on every vehicle imported. Why and what is that for Mr. Speaker? They have placed a ban on vehicles over ten years old. Again, I ask the question, who is hurt most by that restriction? Do they realize that they are putting many Bahamian businesses out of commission and putting basic car purchases out of the reach of many Bahamian?”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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