'St. Maarten government should tackle unregistered companies' to increase tax revenues


PHILIPSBURG--Government should go after the unregistered companies that "are making money and not paying what is due to the community," instead of placing "too much pressure" on the business community that are up to date during the global recession, said United Peoples (UP) party Member of Parliament (MP) Gracita Arrindell.

"Government has a balanced 2013 budget of NAf. 443 million. Talks by the Minister of Finance of revenue increasing measures should not burden those who already pay their taxes and make their fair share of the contribution.
"The people and business community want relief at this time. The 'Government for the People' have not brought any relief since it took office six months ago," she said.

Finance Minister Roland Tuitt has said that if every company pays at least some of the taxes they have to pay government will have more than enough money. "You can't squeeze blood out of a stone. The working people of this country pay their dues and so do the thousands of businesses who contribute monthly in taxes to the coffers of the country."

Government is heading in the direction of taxing the people and business community "to death."

UP had "a strategy" to go after those businesses and others that were not paying at all. "Expanding the tax base will bring in additional revenues for government thereby covering new policies and programmes that need to be implemented."
She said UP is "very concerned" with the notion that the National Alliance (NA) led government has plans to increase the Turnover Tax (ToT), which will only further exacerbate the fragile economic situation of the country.

Finance Minister Roland Tuitt on several occasions has pointed out that government has no increase in the ToT planned into the draft 2013 budget and any change to the current ToT levy will require a law change.

Arrindell said a ToT increase will also have "a negative influence" on other sectors of the community. The purchasing power of citizens, including our senior citizens and those most vulnerable will further decline. "The middle and working class people will also lose out as prices increase overall."

Government's focus should be "on creating opportunities" for new businesses which will create employment and bring in more income for government. "Shortening significantly the bureaucratic red tape" especially by introducing more efficient responses to business licences and building permit requests are also needed. Encouraging direct foreign investment, stimulating more public-private partnerships will also provide much needed funds for government, she noted.

"The current track the country is on is not good. Government has its priorities wrong, wrong direction; the country is on the wrong track," Arrindell said.