A note on my oil tax review

To Err is Human – but it’s pretty embarrassing…

Yesterday I posted a quick review of the OBA’s proposed levy on petroleum imports, with the subsequent revenue being used to fund the maintenance and promotion of St George’s World Heritage Site.

I subsequently posted a link to that post on FB, on my personal page, and on the two main Bermudian political pages, BE2012 and the OBA page.

In that posting I asked people to check my sums, as I wasn’t sure if my calculations were correct, and I know others may have access to better data or better formulations.

And, well, people did check my sums, and they called me out on what can only be described as a fundamental schoolboy error.

Quite frankly, I’d missed the rather important step of converting from cents to dollars…

Pretty much...

Pretty much…

In my original post I had stated that the average annual revenue over the ten year period of 1999-2009 would have been about $67 million, and in 2009 the revenue would have been about $73 million.

After correcting my error, the actual annual revenue would have been closer to $675k, and in 2009 about $725k.

I made a mistake, and I thank readers for checking my sums and pointing out the error to me – as embarrassing as it is to me to be called out on such a schoolboy error.

Questions Remain

Nonetheless, I think the bulk of my questions in the original post remain.

1) Why did the OBA present such a bill without providing even a basic analysis how much revenue it would generate – or what the various ramifications of such a policy would be?

2) Will this levy be passed on to the consumers, and if so, what would the impact be, especially for the workers who have seen a sustained drop in real wages over the last few years?

3) Is this levy the best way to obtain its objectives of maintaining and promoting the World Heritage Site?

[And there’s an added question about whether there’s been an updated management plan for the World Heritage Site, as there’s a best practice convention of having a five-year management plan for such sites, and I’m only aware of the initial early 2000s plan…]

Again, I’m not against such a levy, or a carbon tax at that (and I’ve advocated such before, especially as a policy for produce which can be locally grown, and so making locally produced fruits and vegetables more competitive in the local marketplace) – and I’m certainly supportive of maintaining and promoting the World Heritage Site of St Georges.

My main concern was about how this legislation has been brought forward and the lack of what I would consider proper research and argument for it.

Like Greenrocks stalled plastic-bag tax idea, the poor execution of a good idea (I think they failed to strategically argue why it was a good idea, and lost the narrative) can lead to it not being implemented, regardless of the soundness and quality of the idea/policy itself.

Also, see Vexed Bermoothes take on the ‘gas tax’.

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