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An excellent budget… kudos to Sen. Williams

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EDITOR: The 2007 Budget presented in Parliament by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves was indeed an excellent one. The budget contained something for everyone and certainly is geared to putting this country “on the cusp of advanced economic take- off” as put by the prime minister.

Several tax cuts in the budget will benefit both individuals and businesses including a 2.5 per cent reduction in the tax rate at the high end for individual and businesses from 40 per cent to 37.5 per cent.{{more}} Individuals at the lower end of the tax bracket will also benefit as the tax threshold has moved from $14, 000 to $15,000 annually, so those working for less than $15, 000 annually do not have to pay taxes and for those who work for more this amount now becomes non-taxable.

Vincentians on a whole will also benefit from a reduction in the price of gasoline and diesel at the pumps with gasoline moving from $11.50 a gallon to $9.75 and diesel from $9.50 to $8.75 per gallon from January 1, 2007.

Persons taking mortgages for construction purposes will also get some ease in 2007 with the stamp duty payable on mortgages being reduced by 50 per cent. The stamp duty payable on leases and agreement for lease will also be reduced by 50 per cent. This adds up to significant savings for individuals and companies.

Added to all these, some 150 new permanent posts in the public service will be created in the new year including 69 new teaching positions. A long list of projects including the construction of six new schools, the completion of the Rabacca Bridge, the International Airport, and the list goes on, also give Vincentians much hope to see this country on the cusp of an advanced economic take-off.

Kudos to Senator Williams

The debate on the budget from the government side was indeed outstanding and I must single out Senator Richard Williams who demolished the Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace. Senator Williams hit Eustace for six on the issue of what the budget contained for the young people of this country. The opposition leader having written his speech before hearing the prime minister’s Budget address made the mistake of stating that the Budget contained nothing for young people. Senator Williams like the true lawyer that he is, proved the falsity of Mr Eustace’s statement hitting him punch by punch with the long list of items for young people in the budget including the construction of several schools which I have already mentioned, the construction as well of eight early childhood centres, the many university scholarships, the student loans and the guaranteeing of some of these loans by the government for poor people. Kudos to Senator Williams for a masterful reply to what was a speech by Mr. Eustace that definitely showed he wrote it before listening to the PM’s address. Hopefully Mr. Eustace would have learnt his lesson, you can’t write a reply to a man’s speech unless you have seen or heard the speech or unless you are psychic. Humpty-dumpty of course could do such a thing as he is the master of words, so if there are hundreds of items in the budget for young people but Humpty-Dumpty takes hundreds to mean nothing then it is so construed.

Hans King

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