Reader’s Letter: Grading the Minister of FinancePOSTED: 03/15/11 12:04 PM
The Prime Minister in a news conference last week indicated that there was a process in place to evaluate the performance of the Ministers after a year and then a decision can be made on …. And she wasn’t clear what we could do. Now we all know that no matter what these Ministers do, unless Parliament breaks up and Government ‘falls’, we are basically stuck with them for four years.
In light of this I thought it pertinent to offer some friendly advice. This advice may not be as entertaining as that from my former Dutch teacher Bijnsdorp or as the Minister of Education would say Bijnsvillage.
The Minister of Finance probably had the most difficult job of all the other Ministers. The thing is that his precarious position was pretty much of his own making, being that he was in charge of Finance for pretty much the last 11 years. So when placing blame, he needs to do like Michael Jackson said.
In short, the Minister Finance blames Mr. Blackman for the 130 Million deficit but he fails to mention the reason for this large deficit was because the CFT would not take into consideration the extra income from becoming a country which Mr. Blackman calculated. In any case, Mr. Blackman was able to present a budget with a 1% TOT increase for 6 months that would have according to Blackman balanced the budget. Blackman was also going to move to reducing income and profit tax and moving to an indirect tax system in the first 6 months of 2011.
The measures mentioned by Blackman in his article are not refuted by the Minister but he instead turns into a politician claiming that NA should have done that or NA should have done this. Well if he so much agrees with the NA, then hire Blackman as an advisor and implement the plan, since you seem to agree with it anyway. Additional advice to the Minister of Finance is to be a professional and not a politician and that goes for ALL the Ministers. Leave the politicking to the MP’s, since they have more time on their hands anyway.
To cut cost the Minister should take out the alleged 30 Million for the ring road, 70 Million for the Causeway (they won’t help traffic THAT much anyway), cut a little off all government salaries over 13,500 guilders per month until we can generate enough funds to balance the budget. I am sure there are other ways to cut here and there.
In order to collect more money move to an indirect tax system, which is easier to control and would lead to increased compliance. Many businesses are doing it this way already so I don’t agree that this change would take very long. I am going to give you three months. Couple this with a heavy reduction in income tax, giving the people more money to spend, and Government will reap the benefits.
Next, give the Prime Minister a call and have her retract her decision to grant hotels tax breaks for 10 years. Hotels collect the 5% room fee from the tourist and this should be passed on to Government. In order to assist businesses cut the level of Profit Tax which is way too high and the main reason compliance is so low.
With the increase of the TOT to 5%, you also included anyone that does work on the Dutch Side even if the business is not registered here. Shouldn’t this same rule be implemented for ALL businesses? It is a public secret that most business does not pay their fare share. The Dutch estimate 30% compliance. If compliance is increased to say 75% then taxes could be reduced and everyone would benefit.
It is rumored that you intend to bring several civil servants from Holland to assist the Finance Department. This is a BAD idea. There are several people out there who went to the same schools these laid off civil servants went to but they can’t seem to get a job here. It’s almost as if this Government wants to keep the public poor and begging.
In conclusion, I think it is clear that the Minister is failing in his position and from the comments in the papers; it doesn’t look as if there is much chance for him to improve. As long as you keep blaming others for your faults, you cannot correct them.