Thursday, February 22, 2018

Tax by any other name is still tax

“Axe the Tax” was one of the political slogans that made a lot of waves in the general elections of May 2010. It seems set for the very same amount of political damage from 2013 straight through to general elections 2015, starting from September 9, 2013. 

It is only in Trinidad and Tobago that the populace has been encouraged to believe that taxes on private property are not necessary to the fortunes of the nation.  

Property taxes are  bread and butter money for any nation. Let’s face reality. The only people this side of the Atlantic who do not pay taxes are living in the jungles of the Amazon in South America. Are those persons who own property willing to forage for food using bows and arrows?

In other countries property tax covers the retention of essential services, personnel and infrastructure. Having not paid the dues for three years is typical of the collective madness we have been suffering under this Partnership Government.  

Coupled with the other grossly mistaken idea that the removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) was a smart move to gain political popularity, we now have to endure the reality of being slapped two times in the face.

But who am I, a person who never understood the reality that a line standing on another line is an Isoceles triangle, to run my mouth on the Government? I got to Theorem 22 without anybody realising that I was no friend of Theorem!

The leaders of the Congress of the People stand ready to object any “tax that resembles PNM tax”. They are ready to muddy the political waters swirling around their seating with the coalition.  

Who is to tell them that this Government has spent itself into a corner without having been able to shake up the economy and provide new avenues for income?

The burning question now is, will the COP leave the Partnership if the Minister of Finance sets about not taking on anything that the COP has to say about taxing the electorate? Ministers Dookeran and Ramadhar must be careful not to send any further wrong signal to the UNC-led government.

We all need to recognise that short of printing money, we have to do what the rest of the world takes for granted. Tax by any other name is still tax. The scenarios have shifted.  

What was alright for yesterday is not going to work today.  

Lynette Joseph

Via e-mail