……..by Audley Phillip
Citizens Must Address The Underlying Issues Of Government Spending Or When They Say Pay We Just Have To Pay
Just mere weeks after the Prime Minister announced in his Independence day message that Antigua and Barbuda was expected to see a phenomenal growth rate of over 8 percent this year, which according to him made Antigua and Barbuda the country with the second fastest growth rate in the region, the Prime Minister has given a clear indication of his government’s intention to raise the Antigua & Barbuda Sales Tax by a possible 2 percent soon.
If Antigua & Barbuda is doing so well, then the people should expect at a minimum NO NEW TAXES or even more, a decrease in some of the taxes that we are already on the books..
The age of spending anyhow now without accountability is ruining our country and the prospects for our children’s future. We cannot allow partisan politics to make us overlook the long term effects of blind policies and programs that are likely to have a severe negative impact on the citizens’ purse in the long run . If we do not take stock of how we do things now, it will inevitably create a future of economic hardships for us and generations to come later. We simply cannot close our eyes to the reality of the situation that is before us today.
Taxpayers have repeatedly watched the government respond to some problems with the creation of new ones, with dire spending initiatives that were never budgeted for. Some cases in point are the Alfa Nero Vessel and the enormous amount of money that we are spending to maintain and sustain it, the huge sums of money that was spent on the St. Mary’s South by-election, and so much more. All this money came out of the treasury – it is our money that we paid in taxes.
The Government must find ways and means of reorganizing and repurposing the money that it already has within the Government bureaucracy and not try to impose additional burden on the people by way of additional taxes.
There are also programs within the government that have outlived their mission and usefulness and are operating way below peak efficiencies. All such wasteful spending has been a contributing factor to the government deteriorating fiscal health today.
Quite honestly, the people deserve better from their government in terms of how our tax dollars are spent. Every dollar spent by the government must be measured by its effect on actual outcomes. Value for money is the only way.
Our system of government lacks serious oversight..and there are little or no checks and balances once the government budget is passed annually. This situation only deepens the mistrust in government and how they spend our hard earned tax dollars.
There must be justification for wanting to increase taxes when the country is doing so good and to date the government has provided none. Without that, we the citizens would simply just be giving the GOVERNMENT a blank check to do as they please and when they say PAY, WE JUST PAY.
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