Increased tax collection fills hole in 2012 St. Maarten budget


PHILIPSBURG-Increases in the amounts collected from several taxes have helped to plug the hole in the 2012 budget created by the removal of the NAf. 21 million in income tax from non-resident condo owners and the adding of the NAf. 17 million Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for civil servants.

Finance Minister Roland Tuitt explained on Wednesday that more than NAf. 2.6 million has been collected so far in gasoline excise tax, NAf. 5 million in wage tax, and NAf. 1 million by the Court of Justice.

Those increased amounts together with the already announced additional collected NAf. 17 million in Turnover Tax (ToT), will assist in keeping the budget at NAf. 432.5 million.

Also removed from the budget are NAf. 1 million each for Succession Tax as requested in a motion passed by Parliament; profit tax and transfer tax.

Another contributing factor to keeping the budget balanced, according to Tuitt, is the determination that the NAf. 7.1 million earmarked for the execution of the Plan of Approach for the Justice Minister can be reduced to NAf. 3.1 million. The figure relates to personnel expenses as does the COLA payout for a budget amendment is not needed for this shift.
With the combined changes, the 2012 "will remain balanced," said Tuitt.

Additional questions from the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT about the pending budget amendments were answered by government on Tuesday. Tuitt is now looking to the approval of the changes by CFT and Parliament. It is possible that a session of parliament will be held during summer recess that starts this week. The budget amendments need to be approval by Parliament and the CFT for the COLA payout to be possible at the end of this month. The COLA was not originally budgeted for in the 2012 budget.

The total operating expenses for 2012 are budgeted at NAf. 432.5 million, an increase of NAf. 11.6 million or 2.8 per cent, compared to 2011. As required by law, the total operating income and expenses are balanced; the budget has no deficit and no surplus.