Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Fireworks could continue as Senate considers Appropriations Bill

Published:Friday | March 24, 2017 | 3:13 AM

Opposition to the 2017/2018 National Budget could continue in the Senate today as that chamber of Parliament meets to consider the Appropriations Bill.

However, the Bill is expected to be approved today as Senate’s consideration of the budget is typically a rubber-stamping exercise.

This is because the unelected chamber has no power under the Constitution to make any change to the Appropriation Bill which gives power to the Government to spend, as well as levy, taxes.

However, this limitation has not prevented senators in the past from at least voicing their opinions on the Government’s expenditure and revenue plan.

Given the fireworks in the Budget Debate in the Lower House which culminated in a walkout by the opposition parliamentarians, it’s expected the criticisms of the budget will continue today in the Senate.

The opposition has maintained that nothing justifies the almost $30 billion in taxes imposed over two years by the Andrew Holness administration except partisan, political motives.

It says the Government’s $1.5 million tax break amounts to taking from the poor to give to the rich.

However, the Government insists it’s part of the plan to move for direct to indirect taxation.