Opinion: Turnover tax

POSTED: 10/1/12 12:39 PM

One little lesson is to be learned from what happened in the Netherlands: the high tariff of the value added tax went up from 19 to 21 percent.

This brings of course to mind St. Maarten’s turnover tax. Remember how the Chamber of Commerce spluttered when the tariff went from 3 to 5 percent? The Chamber thought that would be acceptable if it were a temporary measure.

We know now that there is nothing temporary about the turnover tax and that there is nothing temporary about the increased tariff either.

Politicians are the same all over the world. If they have to balance a budget, they will look at these nifty little measures and examine the possibilities to increase the pressure a little bit (read: how it is possible to squeeze more money out of their voters without killing them).

So be warned: the turnover tax will not remain 5 percent over time. Oh, Finance Minister Tuitt may say now that there is no intention  to increase this tax and that is probably true. The thing is: that is now, and tomorrow, or next year, or in 2015, there could be another government with other ideas and under more pressure to deliver a balanced budget.

The political solution has always been and will always be something based on this philosophy: we (the government) are short and you (the citizen) will have to pay. Count on it.

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