13 December 2008

Wow. So not impressed.

The PLP blog writes that Government is "helping the economy" by waiving fees for businesses to operate on Sundays. However, Government won't cut the duty on importing food, because "On the whole the duty on food is non-existent or very low and that has been so for at least the last ten years," and "there is little more that Government can do if it wishes to protect its existing revenue base".

I am underwhelmed. Why not take a more radical step and eliminate payroll tax for our lowest earners, who are most strapped for cash? e.g target those workers making under $42k a year, as suggested by the UBP last December. That would directly put money back into those pockets.

As for the groceries, the article states that meat, fish, and fresh veg get 5% duty, while bread and pasta get 10% duty, and frozen food gets 22%. I wonder if that 22% includes frozen veg. If it does, Government should cut that duty, as frozen vegetables actually have quite a lot of nutritional value ("frozen vegetables provide similar levels of nutrition to fresh vegetables") and are convenient to use and keep well. Government should further cut the duty on bread and pasta -- I am not a nutritionist, but those seem like staples to me. And as for "protecting its revenue base", I suggest Government start with cutting its expenses, including: travel, GP cars, throwing parties like the music fest (nice party, but really the best use of taxpayer (our!) money?), expensive consultants, building parking lots for the US consulate, etc.

Let me say here that I am not from the "starve the beast" ideology, and I support Government increasing spending on programs of social importance (youth development, fighting crime, helping the unfortunate get a hand up). At the same time I believe in prioritising and making disciplined, hard choices about expenditures. Because the reality is that Government money doesn't come from nowhere, it comes from all of us -- out of our payroll and out of our grocery & electricity bills, to name a few places.

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