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PM ‘back-backs’ on property tax – Eustace

PM ‘back-backs’ on property tax – Eustace

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The government estimates that it will collect $3.5 million in property tax this year, $2.5 million less than it budgeted for in 2012, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace said yesterday, adding that Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has “bowed to the pressure” regarding the revised tax.{{more}}

Eustace said on the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) New Times programme on NICE Radio that legislators from the NDP — which he heads — did not support in Parliament last year the bill that changed property tax from a percentage of the rental value to a percentage of the market value.

Eustace said yesterday that opposition lawmakers’ objection to the bill was the absence of a tax rate.

And in the 2012 Estimates, the government budgeted for $6 million generated from property tax, up from $2.7 million in 2011.

The figure has been reduced to $3.5 million in 2013, Eustace said.

“So, as a matter of fact, the property tax, he (Gonsalves) has back-backed on it — let me put it that way…” he said, using a colloquial expression meaning “reversed positions”.

“Because he (Gonsalves) realise people weren’t going for it (property tax). And when you consider there are about 10 or 12,000 new persons, if you only have an increase from 2.7 [million dollars] to 3.5 million [dollars], there is not going to much increase in property tax any more.

“I think he bowed to the pressure. He will give you some other reason, but he bowed to the pressure…” Eustace further said of the prime minister. (kentonchance@searchlight.vc)

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