Peter Turnquest delivered the Budget Statement of the Government on Wednesday 30 May. It was no different than any of his predecessors: a long boring recitation and justification for the mischief that the FNM was about to wreak on the Bahamian people. He started with a lot of lotion and then applied the penile punishment and in a minute the lotion was gone. There is budgeted 2.8 billion in revenue against 2.6 billion in expenditure and a capital expenditure of 299 million. Looks like about 400 million dollar deficit. Here are the taxes he proposes:
- the taxation of gaming house activities through the introduction of a sliding scale of rates applied to taxable revenue, namely: up to $20 million, a rate of 20 per cent; between $20 million and $40 million, a rate of 25 per cent; between $40 million and $60 million, a rate of 30 per cent; between $60 million and $80 million, a rate of 35 per cent; between $80 million and $100 million, a rate of 40 per cent; and over $100 million, a rate of 50 per cent;
- also, the taxation of gaming patrons through a 5 per cent stamp tax to be levied on both deposits made by patrons at the gaming houses and any non-online games/digital sales;
- An increase in the various Immigration fees;
- Introduction of new Port fees;
- the Real Property Tax on foreign-owned vacant land to 2 per cent of value, up from 1.5 percent;
- licensing fees on large commercial vehicles by $50 for Class B and Class C vehicles; and
- increases to police record fees, fingerprinting fees for casino employees and Labour Certificate fees.
Most substantially Mr. Speaker, the Government is proposing an increase in the rate of Value Added Tax from the current 7.5 percent to 12 percent effective July 1st.