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Taxpayers have reached their limit, says JLP leader

Friday, January 03, 2014    

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LEADER of the Opposition Andrew Holness said yesterday that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) will not support the imposition of additional taxes at this time.

Holness, who was responding to recent reports that the Government was looking at additional tax measures this year, including placing General Consumption Tax (GCT) on petrol to plug an approximately $9-billion revenue shortfall, said that after last year's pre-budget tax measures taxpayers have now reached their limit.

"The tax package imposed by the Government in February 2013, which was designed to raise $15.9 billion, has so far been unsuccessful and, in the present fiscal context, the recently reported tax revenue shortfall of $8.13 billion for the eight-month period, April to November 2013, is very worrying, but a predictable consequence of poor policy and ineffective implementation.

"The Government must realise that taxpayers in any economy have a taxable limit, and the Jamaican taxpayer is now at that limit," said the Opposition leader.

Holness pointed out that the finance minister, by his own admission, has conceded that the Government is pursuing a contractionary fiscal policy. "It should, therefore, have been clear to the Government that additional taxes and increased tax rates would not yield sustainable increases in tax revenues to meet their fiscal targets," he argued.

"The Government cannot, on the one hand, shrink the economy while, on the other hand, expect to get more taxes out of it," Holness added.

He said that the only solution to the country's fiscal dilemma is to grow the economy, and has called on the finance minister to set out the Government's strategy for achieving growth.

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