~ Tackle tax reform before Dutch do it for you ~
Independent Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel on Thursday said that the government of St. Maarten has to say once and for all if land and property taxes as proposed by the CFT is on the table for consideration and future implementation yes or no.
Plain and simple, the MP said, government has to say whether it will entertain such suggestions and advice from the CFT or if it will inform CFT that such a suggestion is dead on arrival. “For me it already is,” the MP said. “From December 2020 I have warned the public and government that the CFT is serious about this issue and one day if they (government) keep giving in to demands, property taxes could become another famous condition,” MP Emmanuel stressed.
He reminded me that this is not the first time that the CFT has mentioned taxing property on St. Maarten to increase revenue. “They did it a few months ago and I raised the alarm then. Then on Wednesday the same Chairman of the CFT, with resolve in his voice, stated that property taxes are on the table. Government must now say yea or nay and not let this issue drag out,” the MP said.
“Government has to grab the bull by the horns and take the lead on tax reform. If you take much longer the Dutch ill include it in a liquidity package. When I said this in November I was fear-mongering. But here we are again,” the MP added.
He said the CFT’s notion that they will tax rich people with big houses and lots of property took on a definitely feel not a suggestive one. Furthermore, the MP questioned who will determine who is rich or not in such a scenario. “I have warned that this will be an attack on our way of life. It is an attack on succession land. The Dutch do not understand succession land, lease land, and how we build on St. Maarten. But they do understand how to claim land and the fact that many families here won’t be able to fight any type of expropriation of land,” the MP said.
“They see multi-level homes and think rich people live there, not knowing how long it took to build that home. How many barbeques and family fundraisers, how many pallets of blocks a month, how many bags of cement maybe a week. Those with property build with the future in mind, for the children to maybe share one space. Now you want to come along and tell us our home is too rich or how we should live? The government of St. Maarten better not let this live a life of its own,” MP Emmanuel said.
He also pointed out that the next phase of the implementation agenda for country reforms includes the discussion on the implementation of a VAT tax (Value Added Tax). This is a tax that typically negatively affects those who have the least in society because it is a harsh and regressive tax. “So on top of that possibility, the people of St. Maarten have to worry if their government will sell them out again and adopt a property tax like the forced on the people of Bonaire?
“For me this is dead on arrival and I would hope the same for this government but with its recent track record of capitulating to any the Dutch want, you just never know,” the MP concluded.