Okay, I’ve always been taught that a budget is a tool that allows you to better know where your money is going to as well as allow you to figure out the best way to amp up your savings… REALLY wishing right now that my gov’t had been given the same lesson. Sigh.
Okay, if you’re at all a person who reads the blogs or any bermudian media online sites (and I’m guessing that’s how you stumbled across this mishmash of comedic musings), then you know that the 2010 budget was read out this morning by the Finance Minister, Paula Cog… um, sorry, Cox. Thanks “Lets”, I’m trying to be serious here. But anyhoo, back to what I was saying… which was… oh yes, WTF?
I haven’t read it completely word for word but I did read as much as I could in between bouts of calling my mom to see if I happened to have any rich relatives that were planning on going belly up and giving me some much needed money. “Are you sure? You’re not adopted and didn’t tell me? Cause you look like a Gates, I’ve always thought so, you know.” Okay, I’m done. But seriously. There were some good things about this budget and some meh things… and then some, what were you thinking things.
I’ll admit, the rise in car licensing fees while personally something I will abhor come birthday time is kinda understandable. Mind, most of the working class people are the ones with cars (just more of them by definition) but hey, this might make people choose to get smaller cars and that’s always a plus for the environment and congestion, ish. The payroll tax exemption for the taxi drivers is a great thing. They, as an industry, has been hit hard with the decrease of tourist dollars. And I don’t suspect too many fisherman will be showing up at the open mics to shout at the premier. And I’m really glad the cops got an increase in their budget. Rumours abounded that she was decreasing them but that would have royally irked me. In this current sitch we find ourselves in with the increase in criminal behaviour, namely gangs and shootings, we need to give as much support to the people willing to put theirs lives on the line to protect us – whether it be personal, community and/or monetarily.
Now the not so great. Firstly, how the (excuse my french) EFF are we decreasing the Education budget by 4%?? And to increase the MoTT (tourism and transport, not apple juice) / Cabinet office by 10%?? And to raise the payroll tax on us by 2%?? Man, I’m running out of question marks and I haven’t even gotten to the allowing of pension plans to be effectively looted (and no, that’s NOT the gov’t one… the personal one).I’d get upset about the raise in Foreign Currency Exchange Tax as that really only affects those who are paid in bermudian dollars, ie, bermudians… as most expats in IB can be paid in US dollars, but luckily for my blood pressure we weren’t informed by how much it will be increasing. I’ll save that blow up for later, shall I?
Education. SIGH. Okay, so we are having issues with graduation rates and it’s a widespread view that education is pretty much the social issue on this island that affects just about every negative and, yes positive, social issue. So, what do we do, we take money from them. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are probably quite a few areas we can cut back on in the MoE, like, I’da know, *cough* consultants. But your budget usually indicates level of support. And I’m sorry, cutting that budget when you’re increased the entire budget by 9% and some ministries by even more? Not very important to you or at least it seems that way.
MoTT/Cabinet. Wow… just wow. I’m not sure I even know where to start. Well, the Cabinet. Not totally sure what they do besides release those YouTube videos (youtube/105frontstreet or something like that?) so meh. Maybe they really need the money. Transport. Again, besides having a car and enjoying the fumes of our buses whenever I’m stuck behind them in Hamilton, not really my thing. Tourism now, *grin*, I kinda got an opinion or two on that one. I’d like to quote myself and say, WTF? Okay, tourism is (supposedly) the second tier of our economy. I get that. But again, your budget shows support. So the mangling the tourism product has been given over that last couple of years is not only fully but increasingly supported by our “government”. Right. I’d love to work at a job that my client base decreased exponentially year over year, mostly regardless of outside influence, yet I was given raise over raise year after year. Can I buy THAT for a dollar? (A: not in Bermuda, not anymore anyway, unless you are on the F&F plan of course).
Payroll Tax. Yeah, this one pissed me right off. No, I know, it’s not all that much. I mean, it does mean my payroll tax has increased by 20% but that’s just moneyspeak. It doesn’t mean anything in real money… oh wait. The biggest issue I have with this is that the government is going on and on about the recession we’re in and they decide to raise taxes on us? Riiight. The ironic thing, the title of the Budget is Road to Recovery… Yeah, I just wanna know, whose. the governments or ours? Cause I can tell you, taking more money from us when things are already tight is certainly not going to make my recovery better or faster. It will, however, fill the governments coffers quite well. And apparently they need the money. There are so many things wrong with this picture. I won’t even get into how prohibitive payroll tax raises are on new incorporations of IB businesses. And I could get into the pension thing but even I’m bored of both the topic and me talking.
Face it, this wasn’t a horrible budget… had it not come at a time that everyone is desperately looking to the government for some clarity on how the year ahead should look/be handled. And the answer evidently is spend whether you’ve got it or not… and take candy from babies mouths. LOL