One of the fledgling political parties seeking to disrupt politics as usual here come the next general election, believes it has a solution to the island’s burgeoning economic problems: a flat tax.
On the eve of the implementation of the onerous ten per cent National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), Solutions Barbados has unveiled a plan to charge Barbadians a ten per cent flat tax on earnings if it were to win the election due by the middle of next year.
“If every company in Barbados paid ten per cent of tax on their income and paid no Value Added Tax, no National Social Responsibility Levy and all the other taxes associated were removed, the Government will have far more money to spend than it does,” Scott Weatherhead, the party’s candidate for Christ Church East Central, said Friday afternoon at the Courtyard by Marriott, where leader Grenville Phillips II introduced his policies and the party’s 24 candidates for the election.
Like the other recently-launched political groupings, Solutions Barbados failed to factor in a recent opinion poll by Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES) on behalf of the Nation Newspaper, which suggested the election will be a straight fight between the incumbent Democratic Labour Party and the main Opposition Barbados Labour Party.
However, the party of businessmen and women was undaunted as it presented a proposal that would lower corporate and personal income taxes, leaving more money in the hands of consumers.
Under the Solutions Barbados tax plan, the controversial NSRL due to take effect tomorrow, would go. So would Value Added Tax and the myriad other duties and levies charged by the administration.
Weatherhead, the chief executive officer of Mix 96.9 and a businessman of 25 years, said the lowering of taxes to spur economic growth was nothing new to Barbadians.
It was a strategy used successfully by former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, he said.
However, his proposal seems more radical than any seen here in the past, and could leave economists wondering if Government can raise sufficient revenue from a flat tax to meet its many responsibilities.
Yet he was certain this was the way to get Barbados out of its current problems.
“If every individual in Barbados paid the requisite amount of taxes, the Government of Barbados would have more than enough money to operate itself. . . . You cannot continue to tax a country constantly and think that out of taxing a country you are going to make enough revenue to pay your taxes in Government. In fact, you have to do the reverse.
“The reverse is that you must remove taxes and allow the people to have more economy so that they spend the income. As they spend the income that they have, the more you get economic growth and activity,” he explained.
Weatherhead also revealed that should his party emerge victorious, it would forgive all debts owned to Government by companies and individuals.
And as if to make it clear this was not a slip of the tongue, Phillips emphasized the point, stating the policy would allow everyone to operate from a clean slate.
The structural engineer, who will contest the St George North seat, was confident this policy would help Solutions Barbados turn round the economy within two months of taking office. [email protected]