Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 28th 2013 Contents A12
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt July 28, 2013
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If and when the People s Partnership Government
implements property tax it is likely to lead to a
Also, the Government s credibility would slip anoth-
er notch, and it can put another nail in the party s
So said a political analyst and two economists on
the issue of the Government s plans to bring back
In a July 14 Sunday Guardian article, Finance Min-
ister Larry Howai indicated that the Government
had lost $600 million in the non-collection of property
tax over the last three years and was considering
bringing back the tax---if not in this year s budget,
some time after.
The delay in the tax collection was caused when
the People s National Movement (PNM) brought leg-
islation under the Property Tax Act of 2009 that
would have essentially provided new rates upon which
properties would have been taxed.
The legislation was passed in December 2009.
This prompted former deputy leader of the Congress
of the People Prakash Ramadhar to launch an "Axe
the Tax" campaign.
The PP Government also promised to rescind the
tax in its 2010 manifesto.
Wilson: There will be political fallout
Former finance minister and economist Selby Wil-
son said if the Government should follow through
with its plans, "there will be political fallout."
Wilson said the fallout can result in citizens chang-
ing their political allegiance.
He agreed that property tax should return.
"If the Government does not introduce the tax,
a subsequent government will."
Wilson said careful consideration must be made
on how the tax should be introduced and its justi-
Wilson said it was left to be seen if the tax would
be introduced in a different form, as opposed to what
the PNM had intended.
He said the re-implementation of the tax should
not come as a total shock.
"Whatever that is done people have to feel they
are fairly treated and the tax is not disproportionately
distributed between the haves and have nots."
King: A practical tax needed
Economist and former minister of planning,
restructuring and gender affairs Mary King did not
see the PP suffering politically if the tax is returned.
"Why should Government suffer for increasing
taxes? People have not been paying for three years.
They were paying at very low rates before 2009."
King said the Government lives by its taxes, stating
that utilities, garbage collection, gas and electricity
are already subsidised by the State.
"When you look at the Gross Domestic Product
and the budget, you will see that 47 per cent of all
your expenditure of Government goes to transfers
and subsidies. Now, why do we have this situation?
Therefore, we have to correct it."
King said of the $600 million the Government
had lost in revenue, we need to come up with a
proper policy and have people pay their taxes.
King said while the PNM had intended to have
houses and buildings revalued under a new property
tax, this was stopped by the Government, which
really was a wrong move. I think we should have
been trying to bring the prices down a little bit from
the PNM s status at that time and come back with
a practical tax that would not make the poor people
on return of property tax:
PP to face
Continues on Page A13
Economist Selby Wilson
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar with young supporters at the UNC
cottage meeting at New Settlement, Chaguanas, last Wednesday night.
Looking on is Tourism Minister Stephen Cadiz. PHOTO: SHASTRI BOODAN
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