2011 OBA Reply to the Throne Speech – Part Three

Economic Policies

The overall OBA ‘goal for the economy’ is ‘to come out of the recession with all the ingredients in place for an economic boom that generates jobs and opportunity, grows pay-cheques and creates a more secure future for our people.’

– Eliminate the employee portion of payroll taxes for employees earning less than $50k a year.

It would be interesting to work out how many people this policy would involve, why they settled on $50k itself, and what the projected reduction in Government revenue would be. If any readers have the data at hand and are willing to offer some calculations, that would be appreciated!

Personally, I don’t have a problem with this idea in general, as I do think it would help some people, and would boost effective demand somewhat (again, it would be interesting to work out the multiplier effects of this, and to also identify if a different income would be more ideal – say for employees earning less than $75k instead of $50k).

Having said that though, I would seek to prevent any revenue loss by increasing the payroll tax for high-wage earners (more than $100k).

– Require Government to pay its bills in no more than 30 days.

Not necessarily opposed to this, but would like to see what the standard practice is in the private sector, accounts payable and the like.

– Grant employers a two-year payroll tax exemption for new hiring.

I am wary of this, although not strongly opposed. As long as the worker’s benefits/pensions are not affected, I’m not too concerned, although it does potentially mean the Government is (in as much as it supports the workplace and workers in general) supporting more people with less revenue.

– Reform and fast-track the Planning process.

I am wary of this, particularly as the OBA (at least here) doesn’t seem to indicate how they would do this. Planning is largely under-resourced, and the best way to improve it would be to direct more resources to it (more planning staff, etc.), but this would require increased budgets, something the OBA elsewhere seems quite strongly opposed to. An alternative is to reduce the requirements for planning, but one would expect this would lead to more problems in the long-term as substandard developments result. Overall, this policy needs ALOT more detail fleshed out on it before I’m able to really pass any judgement on it.

– Eliminate the licensing requirement for non-Bermudian spouses for the purchase of property.

I believe this has since happened, but I’ll need to confirm that. It’s not an issue I have researched either way.

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