Burt to focus on forgotten in Budget

  • Budget plans: David Burt, the premier, outlined plans alongside junior minister of finance Wayne Furbert (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

David Burt will unveil his first Budget on February 16.

The Premier and Minister of Finance said the Budget would “focus on those who for the last five years have not been a priority”.

He added: “Our aim is simple and that is to grow Bermuda’s economy and ensure that the benefits of that growth reach all persons in Bermuda, and not just a select few.”

Mr Burt was speaking as he issued the pre-Budget report for consultation. He said he would hold a series of meetings to discuss the Budget with international business and union members.

The report contained policy options which are under consideration.

The Government will cut payroll tax for lower-income workers, a policy proposed by the former One Bermuda Alliance government.

However, it may not hike taxes on international business, which contributes 27 per cent of the island’s gross domestic product.

The report said Government would create incentives to bring jobs back to the island, which could include payroll tax relief.

A tax may be levied on commercial rents, with possible exemptions for Economic Empowerment Zones. The Government also signalled it might increase fees on mobile phones, including the Government Authorisation Fee of 2.5 per cent imposed on the telecoms industry.

An amnesty has also been proposed on penalties for late payment of taxes to allow taxpayers to settle their payments and Government to increase its collection rate.

A General Service Tax, a levy on turnover from the provision of services, has been ruled out this year.

A Professional Services Tax remains possible, but would be limited to legal and accounting services and other professional consultancy providers.

The Premier asked for public views on the pre-Budget report, which can be sent to openbudget@gov.bm.

The report is available on the Government’s website.

Mr Burt and junior finance minister Wayne Furbert will hold a public forum on Tuesday, January 30, at the St Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church’s Centennial Hall in Hamilton.

To read a copy of the report and Mr Burt’s remarks, click on the PDFs under “Related Media”