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Increase in transfer tax and diesel levy to aid St. Maarten's 2013 budget


PHILIPSBURG–Government has included a diesel fuel excise fee and an increased real estate transfer tax to help balance the draft 2013 budget that’s now with the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT for vetting. Some NAf. 6 million has also been cut from the Justice Ministry’s budget to aid in eliminating NAf. 25 million from the budget as recommended by CFT.

Finance Minister Roland Tuitt told the press on Wednesday that the draft budget, which stands at NAf. 449 million, was balanced and sent to CFT on Tuesday. He expects an answer soon from CFT on whether the adjustments are acceptable.
Once the CFT gives its nod of approval, the draft budget will begin its passage to Parliament for debate and ratification.
The budget was balanced thanks to the planned increase in the transfer tax from four per cent to five per cent and the introduction of a tax on diesel fuel. Such a levy already exists on gasoline. These are in addition to the revenue-generating measures that increase Turnover Tax (ToT) on tobacco and alcohol products.

Also, government was able to remove some “old debts” from the budget through negotiation with the Social and Health Insurance SZV. Some NAf. 11 million in old SZV debts has been cut from the budget.

Tuitt said the SZV cut would not affect the insurance, because government will still be covering any deficit the fund may have at present.

Government had been working to balance the 2014 budget since last year and it is now hoped that the budget will be approved by Parliament before the first quarter of this year.

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