People need gas duty cut

| 05/05/2011

(CNS): Despite government claims that it is not in a position to cut last year’s fuel duty increase in the forthcoming budget, the member for North Side says it can if it looks at alternative revenue measures. Ezzard Miller says the country needs the cut and he is calling for government to reduce gas duty by 50 cents and instead introduce two new revenue measures that will have a lesser impact, not only on the man in the street but local businesses as well. The independent MLA is asking the UDP government to considering introducing a graded vehicle licensing schedule, which he suggested last year, and to impose a two cent tax on the four cent fee charged by local retailbanks on Cayman to US dollar exchanges.

The outspoken North Side representative also claimed that if government had introduced his graded licensing system last year instead of putting duty on gas, which has served only to contract the local economy, the government would have collected more revenue and done less harm.

In addition, Miller said, the concept of a graded increase in vehicle licensing would help to reward those who are driving cars with lower emissions while penalising drivers of high-end or gas guzzling vehicles.

“The budget should be seen as an opportunity by government to improve its policy position,” he said. Assuming government actually had an energy policy, one of its goals would be to reduce fuel consumption, he supposed, and taxing people according to the size of the car they drive is fairer and makes more sense.

“We need to restructure the licensing so it’s cheaper for the smallest cars and more expensive for larger SUVs,” Miller stated. He said the licensing is a one off payment, making it easier for people to prepare for and offers considerably more choice that the gas duty. He pointed out that the fuel increase affected everyone and everything, as was evident by the continuing contraction of the local economy over the last year.

Voicing his concerns for his own constituents, he pointed out that it was particularly hard for those residents in North Side who are commuting to George Town to work and who, with no reliable public transport system to turn to, have little choice but to suffer the gas hike.

His second revenue proposal could generate over $35 milllion for the treasury, according to advice Miller said he had received from the financial sector. The foreign exchange tax on retail banks’ profit from US-Cayman dollar exchanges was only a minor part of their profits. He added that he did not believe the high street banks should be in the business of making money on local foreign exchange in any event but he did not think the banks would find it so painful. He also said it would have very little detrimental impact on the wider financial sector or the consumer.

Miller also said he hoped that this year the country would see a genuine reduction in government’s operational expenses. Although government had claimed to cut public spending in the 2010/11 budget in reality it did in fact increase spending.

Since then several major government departments have been the subject of an internal review. So far the team has publically identified $17 million of savings at the prison, the tourism department, CINICO and public works. With another eight departments reportedly reviewed as well, although the results have not yet been made public, Miller said he expected to see real and substantial cuts in the operational budget.

“I think we should expect to see as much as $50 million in savings in the 2011/12 projections,” Miller said, adding that government needed to use that money to reduce debt and not to spend it on more capital projects.

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Comments (45)

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  1. Judy says:

    I’m going to start saving on gas by not using my indicator, especially at round abouts. I may not turn on my head lights at dawn or dusk either.

  2. New Plan says:

    Everyone who voted for Ellio Solomon will now be charged at a rate of $12 per gallon. The intelligent people will be charge $3 per gallon.

    Problem solved,


  3. Anonymous says:

    What is needed is that the government put in place a proper public transportation serice for their people or eith have some control as to the prices that the bus transportation is charging. To get from East End to George Town the cost is $6.00 per day. That has beenin place for a long time. Now that gas prices are exclating the bus prices will go up also. For me its cheaper to use my car. I am not as yet paying $6.00 per gallon for gas.

    This whole issues is bull sh–.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with the proper public transportation system but I beg you – don’t make the Government be in charge again of another project. We our now suffering the incompetence of their actions (or lack thereof) in regards to everything they have touched to date.

  4. Ken P says:

    I say lets have Ride to Work days so what if you’ll be dripping in 2 gallons of sweat, it’s a good work out I say and will help cut the cost of fuel. Maybe also have a strike if the price of gas goes above $4 this will let Esso and Texaco know that residents are fed up. Cayman really does need a better and more effecient bus transportation system and get hybrid buses that will each carry up to 40 passengers. We might not notice but with all these little Omni (100) buses burning diesel with crazy erratic drivers and being 10-15 years old does help put up the price of fuel along with the big SUV’s and Hummers. Simply put Cayman has too many vehicles 50,000 and it’s time to put a moratorium on the number of vehicles per household. Get the prisonners to build sidewalks and clear land for bike paths and we’ll have healthier people and be less reliant on cars and use scooters $10 to fill up that baby for a week talk about value for money.

    Of course I do realize Government makes a money from importation of vehicles and duty on oil yet it could charge only 10% for hybrids and vehicles that get over 35MPG. CUC contributes to the high price of oil as well as it’s a fuel generated utility provider so in a nut shell Cayman needs to look at new sources of energy and transportation for the 21st century.


    Blessings to all

    • Anonymous says:

      “have a strike if the price of gas goes above $4”
      Where are you getting gas for less than four dollars? Please let the rest of us know…..

  5. Anonymous says:

    Lets get some go-karts and replace all other vehicles…it’ll be just like Mario Kart-mckeeva could be Bowser…

  6. Anonymous says:


    I wonder if we’ll ever see any lowering of prices?


  7. The lone haranguer says:

    A fuel tax collects more money from rich people. Rich people because they are rich generally have more and bigger toys than poorer people. We need this money to pay down debt.

    Also because they are rich, when the tax on fuel goes up they do not change their behaviour so they will pay even more taxes, where poorer people will/can cut back on there energy usage and could be in about in the same financial position as before.

    Also at higher fuel costs will push us as a contry towards using renewable fuels, solar, wind power, thermal energy which when we have this infastructure in place will insulate us from what seems like the ever esculating costs of fossil fuels into the future..

    • Anonymous says:

      However rich people earn more, have more discretionary income at their disposal, and are in a much better position to choose how to spend or allocate their money. It is not likely they will be wondering where their next meal is coming from. The impact on them cannot be compared to the impact on the poor who is struggling just to put food on the table for their families, not to mention pay their basic cost of living expenses and utilities.

  8. anonymous says:

    We got to get some horse powered enclosed carts like what they use in some places. Get about 12 of them, 8 for the Eastern district and 4 for West Bay. The only problem we may encounter is that McKeeva sold all the Grass lands, so we will have to import feed for the horses. If its raining, we will get some cheap raincoats for the passengers. Aint that a great idea peoples? Put a wrench in McKeeva’s plans. We can probably charge $1 from West Bay and $2 from East End & North Side.Back to the days of old and it should be fun.

  9. Anonymous says:

    WTI is down 10 bucks today, let’s see how long it takes the fuel companies to reflect that at the pumps! It seems the stations are quick to hike on the way up regardless of their last shipment’s wholesale cost, but never reduce in step when prices go down!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Stay away from forex spreads 

  11. Anonymous says:

    The price of oil has been dropping for 4 days; will we see any reduction in prices at the pumps, ever? (Of course not; they only go up, which is a rip off).

  12. Anonymous says:

    how about we start taking the bus?? way cheaper now.

  13. nauticalone says:

    I certainly agree with a graded licensing fee.

    It is simply not fair to charge the same fee to license a small economy car as to license an oversized gas guzzling SUV or other high end luxury vehicle.

    The Govt. must provide for some relief to the middle class and poor where posible. And this is posible!

    • Just the Facts says:

      Nauticalone, think of the extra gas they consume, and how much those over-sized replacement tyres set them back. I thank them everyday for the generous contributions they make to the government coffers, even as I curse them for the way they block my vision at junctions and occupy medium parking spaces like fat cuckoos.  As for high-end luxury cars, think of the whopping amount of duty paid when they’re shipped in. Remember which side your bread is buttered, or the Government’s, anyhow.

      • nauticalone says:

        I agree completely.
        And one can then make the argument that if they can afford the costs you spoke of then the same can be said as for
        the licensing fees.

    • Anonymous says:

       Haha! This Cayman after all, where the "middle class" and some "poor" HAVE gas guzzling SUV’s. Because… "god forbid I should drive a corolla! I’d rather pay car payments and gas fees through my kazoo before I look like I nah nobody!" Priorities people.

    • The lone haranguer says:

      Hello, the SUV will burn more gas, there the SUV owner will pay more tax than the ecconomy car driver. No need for any new clumsy hard to enforce regulations, KISS , keep it simple stupid.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am not the orginal poster, but I have to take up for that person. Why do you “Lone Haranguer” feel you have to resort to name-calling? Why can’t you agree to disagree, but keep your response courteous and civil? Why do you feel the needto use the word “stupid” just because you hold a different opinion? We are in modern times, afterall, when there is freedom for all to express their opinions. Healthy debate is what a civilized society is all about, name-calling belongs to the dark ages.

      • Anonymous says:

        They also contribute more to air pollution and greenhouse effect and heavier vehicles take more toll on the road – so charge them more duty, I say ! All of these people driving around in SUVs only do it because they think it gives them more prestige than driving a humble sedan.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Lets stop driving our cars, start riding bicycles to our destinations to reduce our dependence on the Petrol cash cows. And we will hear who will be screaming then! *Perhaps I should have whispered that thought in the wind?*

    • Anonymous says:

      I guess you don’t have children you need to take to school every day, and their activities afterwards?

      You should be lobbying for the private schools to organize school buses to reduce the traffic (and correlating fuel usage) and give people the flexibility to car pool to work. I know have co-workers who life down the road from me and I could car pool with them, but because I have my kids at a different school they have theirs, I need my own vehicle.

      • Anonymous says:

        The parents whose kids attend private school, should band together and insist on school buses – no doubt that will cost them more in school fees, but it will also help save them fuel costs on ther private vehicles and free them up to carpool with their neighbours, and free up the congestion on the roads too.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes I agree – but private schools are as political and stubborn as government itself. You have no idea………you can’t even get them to make the staff park in the back and leave the font parking lot available for the parents who have to rush and pick up their kids on 45 minutes lunch!

      • Bai says:

        Um, kids ride bikes for FUN- or at least used to. Actually, it might not be such a bad idea considering I see a bunch of primary school kids that are nearly double my weight and I’m nearly 20! They SHOULD ride a bike instead of having their parents drive them to school after pick up from burger king for breakfast


        Though, I doagree with the school buses for private schools. A bit safer.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yeah, it sounds realistic to have a kid from Bodden Town ride their bike to school in George Town! As a general wash, I guess you refer to all school age kids from the age of 6 through to 16.

          There is a difference between ideal world and reality. Clearly, you have not been someone who had to deal with reality!

          • Bai says:

             I would love for someone like you who can judge so easily based on a simple comment to tell me how YOU and the poster above have had to face a certain reality knowing NOTHING about me. While this may not be the place totalk about childhood obesity I would like to ask why you think so many children now a days ARE overweight. The example of burger king for breakfast may have been an extreme one, yet the fact of the matter is that children simply are not that active and maybe, for those children who live in the proximity of the schools, it would not kill them to walk to school. I had to argue with my parents on some occasions to let me walk to school instead of driving five minutes down the road just to turn back home and I know I was not the only one. Not to mention I know people who DO have to make that trek everyday to get to work and to school, so don’t get the impression your kids cannot do the same. So take this from one CHILD who has experienced this herself instead of posting negative comments yourselves in what only appears to be a sad attempt to reason why you do certain things which maybe you don’t need to.

            And about the kids that live far away, I DID state the bus system would be a good idea. Also, considering neither of you can spell properly, mistakes or not- it’s called spell check- you could keep your assumptions/laziness/ and what not to yourselves on what I have suffered or not instead of displaying blatant ignorance. We are all allowed to state our opinions and, before you state the obvious on the negativity of this post, you get what you give.

            • Anonymous says:

              Ha, ha, ha, – Clearly you seem have some anger issues and can't accept that opinions differ and something pushed your button!

              Good luck – I am sure your children will all be riding their bikes to school or walking.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think the subject of overweight kids is not the topic of discussion here, but then there are alway some bloggers like you who have to generalize everyone to the lowest standards possibe. Hope this is fund for you? Once you get an idea of reality of parents with a couple of children (who do not feed their kids burger king!) then you are entitled to judge. Until then, don’t have anything to say.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Around every budget time MIller comes out with these things. None of them actually would work without seriously impacting the economy. They always “create 10s of millions”.

    Next year please Mr. Miller, do some real research.

    • Satirony says:

      9.41. One answer to Cayman’s cash problems would be to install a wind-turbine in the Legislative Assembly. The power output would be huge, and my calculations indicate that it would be enough to power the entire portfolio of Government properties.

    • The lone haranguer says:

      Ezzard is just good at bomb throwing and rable rousing, he has bad radical idea that would destroy the busineses in Cayman, hopefully he will never get real power.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t they just cut the ginormous size of our Government! that might actually help.

    • Anonymous says:

      how will that help? more unemployed, more people can’t pay their mortgage etc..

      • UDP&PPM AFU says:

         True dat but most of the people will then get to keep more of their money to spend on themselves and their families instead of the feeding and housing and gas for the all the non performing over payed unemployables that make up the core of CIG.  I don’t think most of us are going to miss whatever services they think we get from them.

      • Anonymous says:

        Cutting the size of the government would onlybe effective if we were to get rid of all free-loaders expat that are holding down positions Caymanianare qualified to do. To cut the size of the government it mean that the government would first cut their own locals employees and get rid of them, them that willbecome a bigger strain onthe solcial service department. Speak wisely!!!r.

    • Trueblood says:

      The amount of gov’t depatments that are unproductive would amaze a lot of ppl. I work in the private sector busting my behind and just the other day visited a gov’t office and found one employee doing a crossword puzzle, another ordering clothes from the Gap, and another building something out of a stack of cards….AT PEEK HOURS!…..Ain’t that something? In need of a WTF moment…..check em out!

  17. Anonymous says:


  18. Anonymous says:

    Cut the gas tax significantly and make up the difference by eliminating the luxury travel of the Premier and hangers on. If politicians really need to travel let them do it economy like the rest of us.

    • Anonymous says:

      Need a travel oversight committee.

      • Anonymous says:

        It would probably be chaired by Elio and as a result it wouldnever meet.

    • Anonymous says:

      MckeevER drive around in an economy car like the rest of us! Shame on YOU, that man deserves every single bit of luxury that he has swindled from our country LOL.