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Tax-mad Tufton mouthpiece of the rich

Published:Thursday | July 9, 2015 | 12:00 AM


I read with disappointment but not surprise the Gleaner report on Christopher Tufton's Senate presentation proposing an increase in General Consumption Tax (GCT) and the scrapping of income tax, as he is the mouthpiece of the rich who would benefit from such a policy.

This would be the most inequitable thing any government could do to the poor. Tufton is bright, but not smart or caring.

More than half of personal income earners don't pay taxes because they are below the taxable threshold and wouldn't get anything additional from removing income tax. Under present tax laws, some firms and self-employed persons are able to reduce their taxes or avoid full taxation through shrewd planning. So, already, those who earn income don't carry the full burden of the headline tax rate.

Plus, as the smart and bright Minister Mark Golding pointed out that the headline rate for income tax has already been decreased, further benefiting corporate income earners.

Jamaica has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world. Removing the income tax and increasing GCT would exacerbate inequality and intensify poverty.

With an unemployment rate of 15 per cent, a poverty rate of above 20 per cent, and the growing ranks of the working poor, whose real income is declining under a wage freeze, the net effect of increased GCT and removing income taxes would be regressive, giving more money to the rich and increasing the burden on the poor.

The Jamaica Labour Party needs to clarify whether this is now their official position. I hear them talk about moving Jamaica from poverty to prosperity. Maybe Mr Tufton didn't get that memo, being out of the Senate a while.