Unions concerned about possible new taxes
The about turn by Finance Minister Audley Shaw on the proposed imposition of new indirect taxes to fund the Government’s income tax break is causing unease among some unions who have expressed concern about the administration’s plans.
The second part of the election promise is to be fulfilled in April 2017.
Shaw had initially asserted that the Government would not introduce new taxes to fund the tax plan.
President of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), Helene Davis Whyte, says the unions had cautioned the Government at the outset that the income tax break could not be implemented without imposing taxes on the same persons who would have benefited from the promise.
Davis Whyte says the Confederation is concerned, particularly for workers at the lower level of the wage scale.
She explains that many of them would not have benefited from the income tax break because they were already below the tax threshold at the time.
The JCTU head argues that the Confederation is yet to be convinced that indirect taxation is necessarily the best route to go for those persons who are at the lower end of the wage scale in Jamaica.
She notes that there will be an almost 30 billion dollar gap to fill.
Meanwhile, president of the Jamaica Teachers' Association, Howard Isaacs, says the union would not want to have any tax increases that would be to the detriment of its membership.
He notes that the workers are already challenged by the current economic conditions.