Budget to reveal new tax

| 15/06/2010

(CNS): The government will be presenting its plans today (Tuesday 15 June) at the State Opening of Parliament on how it intends to get the Cayman Islands’ finances back on track. Although government has said it will not introduce any direct taxes, it may be hitting consumers at the gas pump and on CUC bills. Following the premier’s recent trip to the UK, where he gained approval for further public sector borrowing, McKeeva Bush has said he will not introduce any direct taxes. However, the Cayman public can expect to see a new fee introduced on diesel when the Throne Speech and budget presentation are delivered in the Legislative Assembly.

Government is also expected to reveal more about its three-year plan, which was presented to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as the blueprint for addressing the country’s mounting debt. The full budget debate is scheduled to begin on Friday, when legislators will examine the details of government spending in Finance Committee.
During the State Opening of Parliament’s presentations from Governor Duncan Taylor and Premier Bush, the broad outline of how the $150 million in borrowing that the UK has now approved will be spent, the full extent of the 2009/10 financial year deficit, expected revenue for 2010/11, details of operational cuts in government spending and new revenue raising measures are all expected to be revealed.
The government was forced to delay bringing its 2010/11 budget, which as due at the end of April, as a result of the need to gain approval from the UK for further borrowing and the need to make significant cuts in government expenses.
In the 2009/10 budget government had originally predicted a small surplus of around $5million. However, despite further cuts in expenditure in the last few months of the fiscal year, a continued decline in revenue has left government with a deficit of close to $50million.
The UDP administration then put together a three-year plan to present to London, which the premier has said does not include direct taxation, though CNS understands it does include a new tax on diesel. The plan was sent to London a few weeks before the UK election but government was forced to wait for a decision until the election was over.  Bush visited the new OT minister, Henry Bellingham, a Conservative in the new coalition government, last week and was given the go-ahead to extend the country’s borrowing. Bush had originally asked for $207million and has not yet said how the $52 million shortfall will affect the government’s plans.
The ceremonial State Opening of Parliament begins outside the Legislative Assembly this morning at 9:45am
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  1. Jenna Jameson says:

    CNS Readers,

    I have to agree with what most of you are saying about the cost of living in the Cayman Islands. However, our dear Premier has no idea of the hardships of the average person on island. Please remember that even before the many perks that he enjoys now as Premier,  he has been an MLA or LoO or LoGB for many years. As in, he had enjoyed many years with a cushy salary with absolutely no idea what it’s like to live paycheque to paycheque.

    Please be aware this is not a tirade against UDP or PPM. Most members of LA right now have been bouncing back and forth between party in power and party in opposition as well. I will say that it is the Caymanian voting population who constantly votes these same people back in time and time again. I just fail to understand the political amnesia of the Caymanian voting public. Do you think that when you vote in the party that you kicked out four years, they have changed at all? Maybe they’ve changed their hairstyles, maybe their weight and hopefully their suits. But, really, what do you all expect?

    I ask a few favours of all the registered voters here when the next elections roll around.

    Firstly, encourage all eligible people to register to vote. There is absolutely NO point in complaining about who sits in office if you don’t participate in the process.

    Secondly, please listen, question and investigate who you’re voting for. Give the new blood a chance to be heard. We need new thinkers in the LA. We need THINKERS in the LA. Don’t be blinded by the red or green or whatever colour they choose next time.

    Anyways, all of this blogging is pointless anyway. Mr. Premier is probably in Orlando hunting down Mickey Mouse to try and stop him from making FOI requests. I wonder how many Mickey Mouses (Mice?) he’ll take down before one of his advisers stops him.

    Although, I bet he’ll have the time of his life if he comes looking for me . . . .

     

  2. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Bush XXXX its easy for you to sit there and run your mouth off about this and that because of the salary you are making and can have someone drive you up in down when we the people of this country have to pay for the fuel. Instead of you trying and help the people of this country everything that you have done since you and you team got in is to destroy the people of this country. We cant aford to pay CUC now talking about hinking fuel honestly you need to open your eyes and really see what the people of this counrty is going thru instead of screwing us over.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is so depressing, so so depressing. Life is already so hard for most of us and now we have to figure out where to find MORE money? Seriously Mr. Premier, is this what you think is really best for us? What do you think will happen to businesses that are already struggling? People who are already struggling? Oh, I forgot who I’m asking! You have not thought about any of this. All that you seem to think about is yourself! We voted your party in because we thought you all were best for us. It’s been just a little over a year since you have been back in power and you have shown us what we should have known, YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT US!!! How can you do this to us? Life is already SO hard and you help an already difficult situation by adding more costs? I don’t use my a/c and my CUC bill is still too high. What’s left for me to do? Live by kerosene oil? Send my children to school without ironing their clothes or without giving them a hot breakfast? I don’t have anywhere else to go, this is my home. You are taking food out of my children’s mouths, I plead with you to find other solutions because this one is not a good one. PLEASE rethink this.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have to say,whether you are Caymanian or not, to hear the citizens of these islands suggesting that their head of State fly in Coach shows that they have no respect for the office that their leader holds.  I am not supporting extravagance but the notion that a helper a driver and flying business class is why this country’s financial position is so wrecked is absolutely ludicrous. 

    This is the beauty and ugliness of politics….. when the PPM was in power they preached nothing but devisiveness with the us againstthem mentality and spent millions of $$ on projects with no accountability or conscience.  Yes bring that back to seal the coffin of these beautiful islands that so many love.   Reading these message boards will only make things worse

    It is very clear to me that politics here in Cayman trumps smart business acumen.  We have some the the most intelligent financial minds right here on island (For how much longer Not SURE!!!!!)  The entire GDP of this country is smaller than most fortune 500 companies.   All we really need is for greed and complacency to take a backseat and let common sense drive the bus!!!! but that is asking too much for a society that admonishes the successes of it fellow citizens because of jelousy and envy.   It is no secret that our Civil servants to population ratio is way out of wack relative to the rest of the world but whose fault is that "not the current administration"!! Instead of putting away for the rainy day like a prudent business does we just went on a spending spree!!!  well like all nations around the world are learning FINANCES TRUMP POLITICS especially when the $$$ gravy train dries up.

    Please for this country’s sake and the many stakeholders Caymanians and Expats,  get rid of the unprofitable segments (privitization CAL, Boatswain Beach), reduce the civil service (with the private sector population leaving in droves the only jobs that will be left will be government),  Run it like a business and create a proper organised welfare system for the indigent.  Govt jobs cannot be the only welfare or Social service outlet.   God Bless us all!!!

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Nobody is suggesting that flying business or first class has put us in the precarious financial position we find ourselves in now.  What we are saying is BUSH and other members of the LA are not doing their bit to help.

      By way of example Prince William elected to fly economy wherever possible more than a year ago as the recession bit in: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mandrake/5066021/Prince-William-elects-to-fly-economy-as-the-recession-bites.html

      Britain’s new coalition government said last month its ministers would travel by second-class train wherever practical and share official cars to help reduce a record budget deficit.  Other government departments, including the Foreign Office are flying Economy Class not only to address the economy, but apparently, also due to environmental concerns regarding carbon emissions.

      I can quite easily say that our elected ‘head of State’ does not appear to have any respect or consideration for his constituents and seems completely oblivious (or ignorant) to the struggles they are facing.

      Having said that, I completely concur with the thoughts you express in the third and fourth paragraphs of your post. 

  5. Rabble Rouser says:

    Boy, I going down Larry’s and buy me one bicycle

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am trully disgusted with myself for voting for the UDP! (United D-U-M-B People) 

    I swallow my pride and say that I made a mistake.

    PPM was a better government, I must say.

    Anybody who disagree’s isn’t thinking straight. People sit down and think about, we never had stress untill May 20th 2009. This artical just makes me sick.

     

    People don’t even bother blamming the PPM for "the mess" we are in… the Miller Shaw report even confirmed it wasn’t the PPM’s fault… now we know their is definite blame in the in UDP.

    I feel so dumb now.

  7. peter milburn says:

    Our Premier needs to take up diving and clear his head with some Nitrogen.Keep going Son and YOU will chase away ALL our tourists with more hikes in fuel etc.Can he even understand what cutting Govt.spending means?The high and mighty MLAS should hang their heads in shame for not taking a BIG cut in their salaries but no they expect the "others"to bear another burden for them but time longer than rope you will soon find that out.Wake up Caymanians and let your voices be heard.Like I have said before there are only two groups of people on island these days.

                    THEM  &     us.

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

      Peter my good friend, I believe the flip flopping from the premier on all issues is obvious. We either support the elected Government or don’t support the Government. This gas tax is simply one more "band aid"  to create income, which will hurt the middle class,  instead of confrontingthe real issues, over bloated indentured CIG, the blank check syndrome from the CIG, no new income streams with an antiquated duty tax system and the attitude that all we need to do is borrow because it will get better. I would support any politician, any, if they would stop worrying about votes and being re elected and attack the real issues.

      • peter milburn says:

        Good to hear from you on this.Well said.It is so sad to see where we are going and with no real end in sight it really hurts me to see what has happened to my adopted home.I hope that common sense will prevail but right now that does not look like it will happen any time soon.In the meantime we can only do our bit to keep the visitors coming back for as you well know w/out tourism we really are DEAD in the water.Stay in touch.

        • Common Sense says:

          Agreed all around, but keeping the visitors coming with the open warfare that Cayman currently has on offer????

  8. whodatis says:

    Re: Tue, 06/15/2010 – 08:05.

    "Who is advising him?!"

    The richest ones amongst us – who else?!

    Another glorious example of Cayman headed down the same road to ruin as every other western society … hit the poorest – protect the richest.

    By now we all know how this story will end – there are countless examples in the world today.

    Just once I would like to see some "outside the box" thinking and approach from our leaders.

  9. Anonymous says:

    CUC services are already way, way overpriced.

    With steady trade winds, hundred of acres of empty land and more sunshine than we know what to do with I don’t understand why CUC is still using diesel anyway. What about wind and solar energy?

    • Lotophagus says:

      Summer – not enough wind.  Rest of year – too windy for optimal generation.  Hurricane risk makes it too expensive.

      This is not a great place to consider wind power with the current technology.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because when it is cloudy or dark and the wind aint blowin you still need diesel generators to keep your TV on. Your proposal would result in three whole power plants – One for when it is windy (although not too windy), one for when it is sunny (12 hours a day at best), and the present CUC plant for the rest of the time. Investing in 3 times more power infrastructure than you need is a luxury we certainly cannot afford.

      The only workable solution that gives us round the clock power and does not pollute is nuclear … so now do you understand?

         

    • Anonymous says:

      Solar and Wind Energy are not the simple proposition that you think.

      1. A study has shown that at least on Grand Cayman we do not have the consistently high wind speeds necessary for electricity production partly because we do not have high enough elevations. A windfarm would produce some power but it would not be reliable.  

      2. In the case of both solar and wind energy the techology is not yet available to store this power.

      3. It would require a huge investment to build the necessary infrastructure and the cost would be passed on to the consumer. Even at the householder level consumers will find that in order to produce any appreciable amount of power it requires an investment (tens of thousands of dollars) that relatively few people can afford.    

       

       

       

       

  10. Seriously? says:

    Surprise!  Surprise!  So petrol is going up, nice one.  Erm … has it not already done so?  If my memory serves me correctly it has increased from $3.74 to $4.43 in just over six months.  Now its going up even more!  So if oil prices have yet to go up, why are we paying almost 70c more than last year?  Whats the reason?  Or does it come down to pure greed by the gas stations??

    Well at least now CUC won’t have to lie about why increases have to be made to the average man on the street.  Great timing as well: we’re just hitting the hot period of the year when air con is required the most.  Thanks for nothing, Big Mac!!!! 

    No wonder expats are leaving in droves.

  11. Anonymous says:

    THIS HAS TO STOP!  Coming up with poorly-conceived ideas to raise revenue for government needs to stop NOW!

    I so agree with all those that would demand that government first get their house in order before burdening us with an even higher cost of living.

    Like many Caymanians I am gasping, struggling to make ends meet and keep my business afloat. I do not know how much longer I can hold out and now I am told that the cost of living is set to rise even more??!!! 

    My GOD! How much more of this can we take? We live in agonising stress over bills and we work extra hours and we skimp and cut back – just to keep our heads above water. All the while we sit quietly by while the elite in government enjoy a 5-star lifestyle at our expense right in the face of our suffering.

    This situation reminds me of the story of a French aristocrat, who was told of the hardship the peasants were suffering as they could not afford even bread and famine was taking its deathly toll. The aristocrat  is said to have responded  "Let the meat cake!". 

    If we the people of the Cayman Islands accept even ONE PENNY more in new taxation without the Government first making meaningful (MEANINGFUL, got that?) cuts in spending (INCLUDING deep and meaningful cuts in MLA pay and perks) then we the people of the Cayman Islands are absolute fools and deserve whatever economic pain and hardship that can be inflicted upon us.

    But of course a large segment of the population have been fool enough over the years to follow their darling politicians of the day down the path that got us to this low point, so maybe there enough fools in this country that the new revenue measure will simply be accepted with a sigh and they will continue to follow like dumb sheep to the slaughter.

    I sincerely hope I am wrong but so far it looks pretty dismal to me.

     

  12. Anonymous says:

    NO! NO! NO!

    Gas and CUC are already too high and for some people out of reach-We have to joggle bills to see which one we can pay this month

    I agree with comments above- the cuts should start with the Premier and other elected officials.

    They were elected by us to to serve, not to be put on a pedestal to have maids and drivers and luxuries that we (the people who elected them) must pay for. Who have they suddenly become that they can’t pay for their own housekeepers and can’t drive themselves? This self importance and luxurious / extravagant life style is not truly the Christian way.

    When gas goes up by 3cents in the U.S. or Jam. there are demonstrations to stop the unfair taxes. If this was happening in any other country in the world right now the people would shut the country down until government came to its senses.

    Wake up Premier!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Please wait until the summer heat is over to increase CUC costs… It is this month and the following 3-4 months when it is the most sweltering…

    Let us get used to the higher bills when it’s cooler.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Want to save some money. Try this one. Stop subsidising Cayman Airways. I’ve just saved you $15m A YEAR! A YEAR people. Wake up – this is a luxury you can’t afford. Want me to save you some more money. Close down the Botswain. That’s costing $6m A YEAR. There – I’ve just saved you $21m (plus whatever you can get for selling Cayman Airways to a private strategic investor that could make the company profitable). Now after all this rocket science – I’m going for a lie down.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are a genius. Life must be so simple for you. It must be great to have the luxury to think of only one issue at a time. 

      FYI, last year’s subsidy to Boatswain Beach was $14m.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Wonder how much money they are wasting on this ‘ceremonial state opening of parliament’ tsk………….

  16. Anonymous says:

    Well, I’m one of the fools who voted UDP. Boy do I feel stupid. Can’t wait for next election because I can guarantee I WILL NOT be voting for them again!!! All they continue to do is make life harder for people like me who are already struggling. I just feel like crying; I can’t live with more expenses. I’ve already cut down as much as I can. I just feel like giving up, there is no hope for us with these idiots in power !

    • Anonymous says:

      Let me guess that you will blindly vote for the PPM next time around and so the circle of stellar Cayman politics will continue.

      (For the record, the alternative to blindly voting for UDP or PPM would be to do a little research, attend some rallies and perhaps vote independent).

    • Anonymous says:

      If you did in fact vote for UDP then you did the right thing because imagine how things would have been if the PPM had remainedin power.  They would have continued to spend recklessly without regard for the future.  The UDP is simply picking up the pieces of that reckless spending and having to make the hard choices.  Be grateful they have the guts to do it for the good of the country.  And the PPM have the gall to give themselves (oops, I mean to receive) medals?  They should give them back!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t these idiots reduce spending. I’l even give them a few hints….

     

    Premier:

    1) Stop the building of walls

    2) Try to stay in Cayman for at least 3 weeks each month.

    3) When you must travel let government only pay for a coach class ticket, you want business class? look in your own pocket.

    4) Try a 2 or 3 star hotel leave the 5 star to the movie stars

    5) Drive yourself

    6) Receive either you pay or your pension but not both

    7) Pay for your own house keeping out of your pocket

    8) Your slush fund??? How much is it? do you really need it?

    Deputy Premier

    1) See number 5 above

    2) Do you really need a body guard in your own home town? ( can’t be too well liked)

    3) Stay in your own home not in a hotel when in your own constituency.

    4) No reason for a hotel/hostel/hurricane shelter on bluff for civil servants

    Wantabe with a Benz: Take a pay cut and buy a cheaper car, all the rest of us do.

    If the leaders of government made some self sacrifices perhaps their taxes would be more acceptable

     

    • A Concerned Young Caymanian Father says:

      Looks like we’ll need to try and have annual elections, because the UDP led government is CERTAINLY shaping up to be THE WORST government these Islands have seen in the history of these Islands!

       

      It’s hard enough now as it is, with CUC and their ludicrous and exorbitant rates, for the average working person now. What should have been done, rather than further impoverishing many Caymanians (young and older), is for CUC/government to raise the rates on those who can actually afford it and are the ones using the vast majority of the resources.

      With such a hot year so far and an even hotter Summer coming, this is VERY, VERY bad timing for this sort of announcement. Not to mention that many are still trying to recover in the wake of the U.S. led recession.

      Looks like we’ll have to go back to the old days and old ways: Kerosene lamps, smoke pans, hammocks and sleeping with our doors and windows wide open for cooling/ventilation! Thank you, Oh Great and Powerful "PREMIER" (Note: Sarcasm isn’t always best portrayed in writing.)!!!

    • Wings, Like Arms, Spread Wide says:

      This is SOOOOOOO true!!!

       

      http://centos6-httpd22-php56-mysql55.installer.magneticone.com/o_belozerov/31115drupal622/headline-news/2010/06/14/budget-reveal-new-tax#comment-79085

       

      It’s hard enough already and they’re doing their best to make it even harder. Maybe they don’t realize, or simply don’t care, that when Caymanians and those living in these islands are able to save some cash/not spend so much money on bills that they will and do spend more locally, which stimulates the locally economy.

      The fuel prices are already overpriced and CUC’s rates are already into the stratosphere! They are THE MOST EXPENSIVE utility company worldwide! And, they’ll continue to do it because we, the people of these islands, continue to allow them to just do as they please. Where else in the world do you see a business being completely paid for by it’s customers. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

      If I own a landscaping company and I agree to cut your lawn and property for say CI$ 200.00, yet when you get your bill it’s for $600.00 you then go WTF?! The breakdown is then as follows :- Landscaping of property – CI$200.00, Fuel for equipment and vehicles – CI$ 100.00, Maintenance of equipment and Vehicles – CI$100.00 and Payment of Workers – CI$ 200.00.

      If you notice, the only thing on that bill that you are really entitled to pay is the actual Landscaping of property for CI$200.00. That’s just how it is with CUC! How is it that your usage is say CI$200.00, but with Fuel adjustment and the other fees it comes to over CI$600.00. You should only be paying for your usage and the meter rental, not for everything else it takes for you to get electricity!! But, because people are getting richer and richer with CUC, it is allowed to continue.

    • Madam Speaker says:

      I am 100% behind you on this one.

      For those ‘3’ that may have diagreed, they were probably on his damn side.

      UDP!(especially The Premier) Get up off ya asses and do something with the money you are given for to support the country other than spend it on yourselves. I seriously starting to think that we might as well had voted in the goddamn independents to run the country.

      DO SOMETHING THAT WILL RESULT IN PROGRESS FOR THE COUNTRY!! PLZZZZZZ

  18. Anonymous says:

    Listen all you complainers, McKeewa gots to travel first class cause that is how he relax. Not only that – after one whole day in the LA he gots to relax for at least 3 months.

    He gots to have all them personal servants at our expense cause he likes that – makes him feel important. He gots to have a big wall round his place to keep them gaunas outa his yard and we gots to pay.

    The cuts to MLA’s salaries, and all the extravagant things they spend on would have saved about the same amount as the new tax on CUC and deisel but that would have cut down on the MLA’s  luxuries and we can’t have that can we. I wonder if the line item in the budget for MLA pedicures is going to be there?

  19. Anonymous says:

    They are still $52 mil short as well, so something has to be cut.

  20. Anonymous says:

    You drive up the costs of everything and the people that make daily life happen will leave.

     

  21. CSI says:

    "Government is also expected to reveal more about its three-year plan, which was presented to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as the blueprint…"

    This government has a 3 year plan?  Could have fooled me.  At their current rate, a 3 day plan would be an accomplishment.  No direct taxes / then taxes /  then no direct taxes again / now indirect taxes; Civil Service pay cuts / no pay cuts; MLA pay cuts / no pay cuts; pension holiday / no pension holiday / oh wait, we kept that one. 

  22. Anonymous says:

    Oh nice hit us where it all hurts. Why not cut the mlas pay in half, cut back on the world traveling and all the other wasting

  23. Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t the Premier understand that a further tax on diesel (which is the fuel used by CUC to generate electricity, and all of us, especially businesses, use electricity) is inflationary? We could be faced with a double whammy if due to the crisis in the Gulf oil prices begin to climb back to the levels they were two years ago. Does he not understand that this disproportionately affects poor people? Who is advising him?! 

     

     

    • Pending says:

      Time for everyone to invest in a Vespa, at least we will all be able to afford the gas bill.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Here we go again.

    Government is planning to draw even more blood out of the economy.
    And the more they draw, the higher the cost of living in these Islands

    It is well past the time for Government to find out where the blood is
    going, and apply some tourniquets. .

    Everyone knows that Cayman is over-governed by at least a factor of
    two, and probably three, and that Caymanians are already struggling to
    support it.

    Many businesses are already transferring out, closing, or hanging on by a thread.

    In fact, Cayman could be very close to a collapse, when our producers will
    simply give up, and our high cost edifice will crumble around us.

    Cayman needs to be released from this cost pressure, and fast,

    The last thing it needs is increased taxes.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Don’t these clowns get it?!  It is not about raising more revenues.

     

    I think it is time to recoin a phrase from the Clinton administration.

    "It’s the Spending Stupid"

  26. Anonymous says:

    You have got to be kidding!!!

    My CUC bill is outrageous already.