Five motions, one amendment mark approval 2015 budget

POSTED: 02/5/15 6:16 PM

St. Maarten – Members of Parliament submitted five motions and one budget amendment during yesterday’s debate about the draft 2015 budget that is on paper balanced at 445 million guilders. At press time, the deliberations were still ongoing, though it was clear that the parliament would approve the budget and separate decisions about the motions and the amendment. And update on these initiatives will follow tomorrow. Altogether the budget meetings took more than twenty hours, divided over three days, not counting last week’s meetings in the Central Committee.

National Alliance MP Silveria Jacobs first motion aimed to take 1.1 million guilders from the Department of Education’s post for personnel costs, material costs and subsidies and to move it towards thirteen organizations – from the youth program at the Belvedere Community Center and the Monument Council to music and dance foundations and talent scholarships. Education Minister Rita Bourne-Gumbs said that this is possible, providing that it does not hamper the execution of the youth program – “and I do not think that it will.”

Jacobs notes in her motion that the government has “cut, decreased or simply not allocated several subsidies to different organizations and projects specifically geared towards the youth, sports and culture” to arrive at a balanced 2015 budget.

Jacobs points out in the motion that there is a line item of more than 3 million guilders in the budget for the Educational Behavior Modification Program in Belvedere “while this program has not been finalized and will not be able to be executed fully in 2015.”

The motion then mentions a large number of organizations that deserve to receive subsidies “to continue to carry out much needed programs and projects geared towards youth development and preservation of our monuments as well as culture and the arts.”

Jacobs proposed to divide the 1.1 million guilders she wants to take from the Educational Behavior Modification program as follows: Youth Program Belvedere Community Center 120,960 guilders, Foundation Sports Development (additional) 350,000 to subsidize seven sports organizations, Monument Council 100,000, Victorious Living Foundation 21,600, Business Outreach and Placement Program (additional) 25,000 (total 100,000), Rights of the Child (additional) 12,500 (total 50,000), Positive Action Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Program (additional) 12,500 (total 50,000), execution recommendation Youth Development Program and RTC (additional) 25,000 (total 100,000), music foundations 50,000, dance foundations 50,000, art and culture foundations 50,000, talent scholarships for ten artists 270,000 and Early Childhood Development 80,000.

UP-leader Theo Heyliger later submitted a modified version of this motion whereby he asked the government to allocate the 1.1 million to “programs and foundations based on received proposals with specified programs as needs on the basis of the regulations as specified in the subsidy ordinance or any other regulation.”

In a second motion, MP Jacobs asked the government “as shareholder of Gebe to instruct the management of Gebe to take the necessary steps to immediately reduce the fuel clause for all consumers.” This motion notes that global oil prices have fallen drastically and resulted in 30 to 50 percent lower fuel prices.

Franklyn Meyers submitted a motion that instructs the minister of finance “to study the creation of an international transfer fee to be added to money transfer services like Moneygram and Western Union.” Furthermore, the motion instructs the minister of finance “to start the process of studying the move from direct taxes – the 5 percent turnover tax – to indirect taxes – a value added tax on goods.”

The motion also instructs the minister of finance to study the possibility of “the elimination of income tax” after the shift to indirect taxation.

On another note, the motion instructs the minister of general affairs “to start the process of fully automate and integrate the information systems of all ministries.” The objective of this instruction is “to prevent tax evasion, illegal employment” and to make sure that government info ration is complete and accurate.

UP-MP Maurice Lake submitted a draft budget amendment to lower the budget post for New Works by 8.3 million guilders and to make this money available for the purchase of the Vorst estate.

The last motion, submitted by independent MP Cornelius de Weever resolves to grant the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor the provisional approval to begin with the implementation of an article of the draft ordinance that regulates cost cutting and management of social security and care. This article allows access to medical coverage for the elderly, sole-proprietors, vendors and bus and taxi drivers and their families.

Did you like this? Share it:
Five motions, one amendment mark approval 2015 budget by

Comments are closed.