Case is made to turn more stones over tax
TODAY’S letter from three members of the Committee for Economic Development, coming out against a goods and services tax and calling for a delay in the tax review debate until more information is on the table, contains few surprises.
But perhaps the biggest one is the clearest indication yet, in the absence of a thorough and updated poll of deputies, that GST just can’t survive in the furnace of fierce opposition from what appears to be a majority of deputies, let alone the public.
So States members may be tempted to seize the lifebelt being offered by Deputies Neil Inder, Nick Moakes and Simon Vermeulen, and give the tax review ‘can’ one almighty hoof down the road towards the 2025 election.
Normally the coward’s way out, on this occasion deferring debate (again) may make some sense.
While there is a degree of urgency in the tax review, and it may be a ticking time bomb, it is not set to go off just yet.
The three deputies say ‘to rush something out simply to meet a self-imposed tax review deadline in July 2022 is unnecessary’.
Instead, they say, the States needs to address, in order, its population policy, will the island be seeking to actively increase the working population, which may be a game changer?; housing policy, if so, where will these people live?; and skills strategy, what are we expecting our population to do in the future, and how will we best do it?
There are many other ‘side’ issues too, to be tackled. P&R has undertaken to ‘leave no stone unturned’, but there is still a feeling within the community that not all matters have been fully considered as potential options to make or save a few quid.
Some understand the ‘binary choice’ argument between GST and Income Tax as the only options which will genuinely make a dent in an £85m. shortfall, but the three deputies argue for economic growth, to ensure that the ‘broadest shoulders’ bear the biggest burden, and again, for corporate tax to be thoroughly investigated.
It demonstrates that it certainly is important for the credibility of the tax review debate that P&R has turned all those stones before the big vote.