Editorial: Taxes

POSTED: 09/5/11 12:52 PM

The BES-islands (Bonaire, St. Eustatius & Saba) go through a remarkable experience: their taxes will go down. After complaints about the effects of the new tax system, State Secretary Weekers evaluated the situation and concluded that there is room for relief.
The main reason for this is obviously that the islands have reached a higher level of tax compliance. St. Maarten is chasing the same goal, but for some reason it seems to last forever before a revised tax system is ready for implementation.
Already now we get strong indications that the 2012 budget will not be balanced, and the draft hasn’t even been submitted to the Parliament yet. When civil servants are chasing cost cutting measures and ways to generate extra revenue, the message is clear. We won’t manage to make ends meet.
Everybody knows the main reason, yet it seems that nobody is doing anything about it. Broadening the tax base is one course of action; re-examining generous tax-exemptions is a second option. The longer the government is dragging its feet, the more citizens will feel the pain in terms of high taxes and lousy services.

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