Chester Cooper addresses the Finance Minister’s Silly Comments in the morning dailies…

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RESPONSE TO MINSTER OF FINANCE’S SILLY COMMENTS TO TRIBUNE AND GUARDIAN – CHESTER COOPER, Exumas and Ragged Island MP, PLP Deputy Leader.

Exuma and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper arrives at the House of Assembly to destroy the FNM Government. – FILE (Photo by Torrell Glinton)

September 3, 2018

Having presented the people of The Bahamas with an unrealistic and poorly thought-out budget hinging on new taxes that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and most economically aware Bahamians explained were onerous and would prove difficult to collect, the minister of finance apparently now finds himself retreating to his well-used safe space of blaming the PLP for the bad policy of the Free National Movement.

I would remind the minister that this is ‘The People’s Budget’; one he promised was an exercise in “right-budgeting”.

One must ask the question: If the government thought its budgeting process was so right, why is it that the minister now says that budgetary targets may have to be revisited in light of the suspension of the new gaming taxes?

The People’s Budget cannot rise and fall on the policies of the PLP when the PLP had no hand in the policy behind these fanciful numbers.

This is not the first instance of backtracking or reversal regarding this budget. It seems as if this government got more wrong than it did right in this exercise.

What we have now is a massive fail that will likely throw off revenue projections and the fantastical “three-year plan” of this administration.

This leads me to the conclusion that this government simply does not know what it is doing.

Minister Turnquest should be ashamed to suggest that the PLP is to blame for the gaming tax debacle that has occurred.

The government is the regulator. It had a year to try and do this properly if it thought this aggressive pursual of tax increases was in order.

If it were not confident in the current regime, why bet the budget on a massive increase in tax revenue from a sector it solely regulates?

This was simply lazy budgeting on the part of the minister with unattainable goals lacking creativity and the consideration of what makes revenue move.

Minister Turnquest is on his very own with regard to the gaming taxes and the Minnis administration’s disingenuous reasoning for the hike in value-added tax.

The PLP created both these regimes that this government has now sought to increase and exploit.

It should have been thankful for the prudent roadmap left behind.

Yet, there was only contempt for the research and consultation that went into to crafting these sound revenue generating mechanisms.

Therefore, here we are.

The PLP suggests the minister start owning the choices of this Cabinet and seek to rectify the consequences we predicted would stem from such slipshod policy.

We wish him the very best of luck.