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Hopes high government will review proposed tax package

JCTU Vice President St. Patrice Ennis and Incoming PNP President Peter Phillips

 

The Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) is hoping that when Finance Minister Audley Shaw closes the Budget Debate on Wednesday, he will indicate that the Government will review some of the revenue measures that were recently announced.
  
Among those that the JCTU has an issue with, is the tax on group health insurance.
  
Speaking with RJR News Monday morning, JCTU Vice President St. Patrice Ennis, said the group is not convinced that employers will bear the brunt of the tax.
                                                          
"We don't know how that would be approached because the government is the largest employer in the country. It is the government that is saying that the employer will bear that additional cost. (But) we have not heard the minister say that the government will bear the increase on the group health insurance, which is the 16.5% GCT. Now we know the government normally has a position that it does not necessarily pay GCT," Mr. Ennis pointed out. 

The tax on group health insurance takes effect on April 3.       
  
According to Mr. Ennis, the JCTU maintains that the tax measures will place undue burden on public sector workers.
  
The JCTU met last week to discuss the tax package and the possible effect on workers.                

PNP

In the meantime, Dr. Peter Phillips, incoming president of the People’s National Party (PNP), has continued his call for the government to reconsider the tax measures.
   
Speaking at a post budget media briefing Monday morning, Dr. Phillips described the government's tax package as burdensome.
   
He argued that the $13.5 billion tax package is to finance the Andrew Holness administration's ill conceived income tax promise.
   
Dr. Phillips said the tax plan and other elements of the budget could jeopardize the economy as well as the education, health and security sectors.

"We are already seeing the effects of under-financing in the crime rate that is spiralling out of control in the country. We are seeing it in the delayed administration of justice, specifically with the failure to move on the appeal court and establishing the next panel and in dealing with that backlog that is so necessary there," he argued.



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