Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Senate approves 2016-2017 Budget

Published:Wednesday | June 1, 2016 | 6:00 AMJovan Johnson

The Senate yesterday approved the 2016-2017 Budget amid bipartisan support for improvements to the way tax measures are developed and implemented.

The Senate's approval was merely rubber-stamping, as the unelected chamber has no powers under the Constitution to make any change to the Appropriation Bill which gives power to the Government to spend, as well as levy, taxes.

Senators, however, hardly paid attention to the limitations and engaged in a marathon debate on the merits of the Government's income tax policy, among other things.

Lambert Brown, trade unionist and opposition member, proposed the establishment of a national advisory committee on revenue options which, he says, could be a mechanism to get the opinions of a cross section of stakeholders.

"I am proposing a broad-based committee examining from now how we going to deal with taxes going forward. Let's find a fair way, and it's important to find that fair way. We must stop believing there is magic to everybody paying equal share of taxes, because everybody does not have equal income," he argued.

He was supported by colleague trade unionist from the government benches, Kavan Gayle, who argued that the Government should not be the sole architect of tax plans.

The House of Representatives approved the $580-billion Budget last week.

jovan.johnson@gleanerjm.com