Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Analyst predicts goodies for J'cans outside of tax break bracket in Holness' Budget presentation

Published:Tuesday | May 24, 2016 | 5:12 AM
Holness is scheduled to speak during this afternoon’s sitting of the House of Representatives which starts at 2 o’clock.

One political analyst says he expects Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, to announce goodies for Jamaicans who will not benefit from the Government’s income tax break when he speaks in the Budget debate today.

Holness is scheduled to speak during this afternoon’s sitting of the House of Representatives which starts at 2 o’clock.

While it’s not known what he’ll speak on, prime ministers have traditionally used their Budget speeches to announce new initiatives or so-called goodies.

Already, the government has announced it will begin implementing part of its promise to raise the personal income tax threshold to $1.5 million.

Political analyst, Kevin O’Brien Chang, says he believes Holness will outline a programme of relief for the poorest Jamaicans who won’t benefit from that initiative.

 

Political analyst Kevin O'Brien Chang

In the past, prime ministers have announced new housing initiatives, expanded benefits under the National Housing Trust and the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education, as well as other social programmes.

However, in recent years there has been a scaling down of some of the announcements made by prime ministers during the Budget debate as a result of austerity measures under two International Monetary Fund (IMF) programmes.

Holness will make his presentation following Friday’s endorsement by the IMF of the government’s plan to lower income taxes.

On Friday, an IMF review team described the plan as a bold and essential step for rebalancing the tax system towards indirect taxation.

Holness will be the last speaker in the Budget debate before finance minister Audley Shaw closes the exercise tomorrow.