Number-plate ritual returns in 2014 – Tax increase alcohol and tobacco off the books

POSTED: 07/11/13 12:25 PM

St. Maarten – Motorists will have to get out their screwdrivers again, because Finance Minister Maarten Hassink announced at yesterday’s press briefing that he will reintroduce the annual change-of-number-plates ritual in 2014. His predecessor Roland Tuitt abolished this system last year, but the result is that now 20 percent of motorists have not paid their road tax. Though this tax is not a significant part of the over 400 million guilders budget, the treasury is currently missing out on 1.7 million guilders of the projected 8.5 million guilders revenue. The 2014 number plates will arrive on the island by December.

Minister Hassink furthermore announced that the tax-increase for alcohol and tobacco is off the books for the 2013 budget year. The reason is that legislation to make the tax increase possible still has to be written and approved by parliament; given the fact that July is almost halfway gone, there is no chance that these measures will have any positive effect on the 2013 budget.

The minister said that he had taken 30 to 35 million guilders in projected revenue off the budget and that he is preparing measures to make up for the shortfall. “There is a considerable deficit that has to be solved. New measures will have a minimal negative effect on the tax burden for individual citizens and our estimates of the expected revenue will be conservative,” he said.

The measures Minister Hassink has in mind have been approved by the Council of Ministers in its meeting on Tuesday, but he declined to give any details. “The next step is to present the measures to the board for financial supervision Cft, to see whether they would support them.”

In two weeks time, the minister expects to be able to give full details about the measures.

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