Opposition Leader Mia Mottley has shot down the proposed municipal solid waste tax saying it had the potential to cause many elderly Barbadians to go “over the edge”.
“People do not have any more room to pay any more taxes,” said Mottley.
She was giving her contribution on the Municipal Solid Waste Tax Bill 2014 debated in Parliament today.
Making her case, Mottley said if someone had purchased a house over ten years ago realizing they did not have to pay any tax, would now have to find “a major sum of $450” per year if their house was valued at $150,000.
“For some people in here that may sound like a little bit, but for a pensioner who cannot even get a $250 electricity bill paid that is a large sum. Anybody who knows how old people worry about land and about payment of bills will understand that that will carry many a senior person over the edge from worries,” said Mottley.
Describing the proposed tax as burdensome, Mottley said it would also add to the cost of doing business.
“Hotels who have been complaining to Government about their lack of competitiveness, tourism which has seen a decline in all but one month in the last 24 months have now to find additional sums of money to be able to keep their heads above water in circumstances where tourism entities constitute the largest percentage of non-performing loans in this country already. Where are we going with this?” she queried.
“You are now bringing into the net all of those people, those tens of thousands of Barbadians who do not pay land tax for property under $190,000. Two, it now places a significant burden on pensioners and hotels, both of whom will not benefit from the 50 per cent rebate that is normally associated with land tax,” she said.
Mottley added that the taxes could “disenfranchise people from the ownership of property in this country”, adding that this was not the way for Barbados to meet its expenditure.
She said if the Freundel Stuart Administration was serous about resolving the island’s debt issues they should find a different mechanism.
“I am saying to you, that to impose another tax on the ownership of land is to reverse decades of philosophical and political commitment of both political parties,” added Mottley.
However, in his contribution Member of Parliament for Christ Church West Central Stephen Lashley said the bill would address concerns of those considered to fall in a vulnerable group.