Shaw to address property tax issues in House today

Monday, April 10, 2017

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MINISTER of Finance and the Public Service Audley Shaw is to make a statement to the House of Representatives today on the vexed property tax issues.

Shaw’s statement will be based on recommendations of a special review committee which was appointed by the Cabinet on April 3 following opposition from several quarters on the increases in property tax rates.

The new property tax levels are based on a 2013 re-evaluation, which was not implemented by the previous Government. There had been no re-evaluation of the taxes since 2002, despite a requirement for them to be reviewed every five years.

The new property measures introduced on April 1 increased the flat rate up to a threshold of $300,000 from $600 to $1,000, and the rate on property values in excess of the threshold from 0.5 per cent to 0.75 per cent of each dollar of unimproved property value.

Government, because of the outcry, has waived the interest and penalties which would be effected while the issue is being discussed.

Other items on the agenda for today’s meeting of the House include a debate on "An Act to Amend the Defence Act", which was one of several crime fighting Bills which were tabled by Prime Minister Andrew Holness during the recent 2017/18 budget debate.

The amendments to the Defence Act will facilitate the creation of a third arm of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), which will be subjected to military law under the Act, as is the case with the regular JDF membership and the National Reserves.

The sectoral debate will also continue this afternoon with minister of state in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service Rudyard Spencer.

Spencer will address issues pertaining to current discussion between the Government and public sector trade unions, including pension reform and the impending negotiations for a new wage contract for government workers.

— Balford Henry




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