TUESDAY, 06 AUGUST 2013
PHILIPSBURG–The revised 2013 budget is long overdue and Parliament is yet to receive any documentation, said National Alliance (NA) Member of Parliament George Pantophlet. He is of the opinion that the revised budget will not complete the parliamentary and related processes until “sometime in September.”
Pantophlet said in a press statement that the government has indicated that the budget would be ready for handling by parliament.
The budget is long overdue, “because it did not pass the scrutiny of the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT.” That version of the budget was tabled in parliament by now former Finance Minister Roland Tuitt (NA) and was passed by parliament in April.
Finance Minister Martin Hassink (UP) began working on the adjustments to the budget in mid-June when he took office.
The MP said when documentation related to the budget is received he will need at least one to two weeks to study the amendments before the Central Committee of Parliament is held.
He hopes that the burden of the budget will not be placed on pensioners, the minimum wage earners, the working poor or the middle class.
He also hopes legislation is being worked on to generate revenues by increasing taxes on alcohol and tobacco, a measure agreed on by CFT. The MP said he is “convinced that these matters were meticulously studied” by Tuitt “who assured Parliament that we would remain competitive.”
Pantophlet also hopes legislation to increase casino and lottery fees are being worked on by government. “If according to media newspaper reports a lottery owner can offer 10 million guilders to settle a matter out of courts then the people should know that they (this particular lottery company) is making large sums of money and can afford to pay much more in fees than is being paid … if this is not the case let them open their books.”
The some NAf. 45 million is “sitting in a United States bank” should not be forgotten.
The NAf. 25 million owed in casino fees to government for the past decade should be paid, the MP said, pointing out that those funds are very much needed for government to meet its obligation to the vital institutions.
He has learnt that several after-school programmes will be affected by the proposed budget cuts. One after school programme “will see some two-thirds of its teachers not return” in the new school year due to cuts. The NA-led government had made provisions “to keep these badly needed programmes running.”
The MP said he has also learnt that the proposed tax write offs will be discontinued. “This is unfortunate, because this would have benefitted businesses and individuals as they would have had more spending power.”
Bron: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten