Feb 27, 2023

The Davis Administration Tax and Spend Policy articulated in their latest Fiscal Strategy 2022 will destroy the middle class! The PLP Government’s $1.2 billion in additional revenue projections make it clear that they intend to squeeze every dime possible from the middle class. They fully expect the poor and middle class to pay a billion more dollars in VAT, more real property tax, more fees, and more Customs Duty to fund their expansion of government spending and their extravagant ways.

The Davis Tax (so they can) Spend Policy plans will make life even more expensive and even more difficult for the middle class and for struggling Bahamians. While Davis and his team are seeking to force the middle class to sacrifice and pay more, they demonstrate every day that they are not seeking to cut back and make the same sacrifice they are asking of the Bahamian tax payer. The Government is seeking to get more from those who have less. They have not put forward any new and innovative new revenue streams that would draw income from untapped and underutilized sources. They are not putting forward any real spending cuts and consolidations.

The Davis Tax and Spend Policy is seeking to extract every dime it can from those who have little to pay. The government claimed that it was waiting on the S& P credit rating evaluation of the country. But clearly that couldn’t be true because it did not heed the

admonishment in the S & P evaluation which stated: “The rapid increase in debt over the past few years means The Bahamas’ previous fiscal consolidation plans will likely be insufficient to meet the country’s debt targets without material new revenues, significant cost-cutting or economic growth well above historical averages.” “However, we believe the Government’s goals will be hard to achieve absent new taxes or material spending cuts.” Instead of putting forward a plan that reflects this evaluation, what does the Davis Tax (so we can) Spend Government do? They simply without good reasons decide to increase the revenue projections so that they could increase the spending projections.

They are intent to squeeze some more from the poor and middle class to allow them to spend more.

They clearly think the Bahamian people have forgotten that they have already revealed in their August 2022 revenue enhancement report that starting next year they will be seeking some $90 million in new and increased fees and taxes from Bahamians. This report is still on the government’s budget website for all to see. The Government must

get serious about trimming and curtailing expenditure. The government must lead the way in reducing wasteful and unnecessary spending. This is an administration of lavish excess including first-class travel around the world, cocktail parties and extravagant events.

The Davis Tax (so they can) Spend Policy does not focus enough attention on job creation and growing the economy. They have once again ignored our young people and the chronic youth unemployment crisis. The FNM maintains that strong and vibrant economic growth – not just a bigger government – is the key to sustained economic recovery and growth. But the actions of this government are hostile to small businesses. We continue to hear complaints of more and more onerous and burdensome requirements being foisted on Bahamian small businesses. The former administration had reduced substantially the time it took for small businesses to get their business license. Now small businesses cannot even get in touch with persons at the Department of Inland Revenue to get help.

In fact, we have not heard anyone from the PLP administration talk about pushing the ‘ease of doing business’ in the country. They cannot talk about economic growth while at the same time stifling small businesses. The FNM maintains that greater funding needs to be put in the hands of small businesses. One of the great successes of the former FNM administration was the substantial funds we put in the hands of small

Bahamian businesses – the details of ALL of which was published online through the SBDC website. From grants to loans to equity injections, the FNM provided in excess of $60 million in direct support to Bahamian small business, including tens of millions in support to get them through the pandemic.

J. Kwasi Thompson

Member of Parliament East Grand Bahama/Shadow Minister for Finance February 5, 2023

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