PPA revisits property tax proposal

POSTED: 08/4/16 11:37 AM

St.maarten – The People’s Progressive Alliance is looking at revisiting the property taxes party-leader Gracita Arrindell announced in a recent press conference and remove it from their political manifesto which was presented last week. The manifesto states that the party intends to introduce a flat rate 10 percent income tax and to implement a 2.5 percent property tax to make up for the shortfall.

The mere thought of implementing new taxes has brought severe criticism to the party and its leader. “If the leader did not vote for herself then she will not have our vote,” some residents in the Back Street area reacted. The country has one of the highest tax-rates in the region and even though Curacao has Value Added Tax it is cheaper to live there than in St. Maarten, said another resident.

Philip van Delden, the number two candidate of the PPA says that the party was looking at creative ways to bring in more funds to the government coffers to ease the burden on citizens. “There are foreign investors on the island who are shipping all the funds overseas and none is left here. With the push of a button the funds goes directly into the account of the investor in Switzerland.”

Van Delden said that because the locals have been feeling the brunt of the impact of taking the funds to another country the PPA is looking at various ways to help the small man. “I grew up with the people on this island and lived in their communities and I am aware of the way they feel.”

“Nothing right now is written in stone,” he says about the political manifesto. “We are looking at different ways to generate funds. We have woken up the people which will certainly result in having some pay their fair share in taxes since it will no longer be a free for all.”

Van Delden confirmed that the party is presently busy revising the party manifesto. “It contains some mistakes because we wanted to be out there first. sometimes that it is better to hold back before releasing a document. When it is finished the people will have a program that they can follow and be proud of.”

Several years ago the late leader of the Democratic Party Dr. Claude Wathey cautioned during an Island Council meeting against the introduction of property taxes. He stated at the time that this could only harm the people and that it would result in a complete take over by foreigners, while local residents would not be able to own their own home.

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