Abaco has three main seasons. “Winter,” “Summer” and “Forest Fire.” I think you can guess which we are in now. I’m not going to speculate about what, or who, lit our most current blaze; all I know is that the smoke is a little close for comfort.
Something else that is a little close for comfort is the VAT filing deadline for most businesses which is due the end of this month. Not that paying the piper is worrisome to me. What is worrying me is that the piper still seems to be playing the same tune as before. In fact he’s playing the tune on a more expensive flute.
The only song the government should be playing with our new VAT revenue should be in the tune of “A Sharp.” As in, making A Sharp turn in their fiscal policies.
The government admitted before implementing VAT that the country was in trouble because it was broke. Bahamians did not like any part of that suggestion. So, you would think our leaders would count their blessings when the Bahamian people didn’t burn Parliament to the ground after VAT was forced down our throats. Politicians should have thanked their lucky stars that more revenue was coming and promptly planned to get our country’s fiscal house in order.
Instead of cleaning house and downsizing it seems they’ve decided to add a sun roof, remodel the kitchen, build a guest room and buy a new car.
As reported by The Tribune and the Central Bank of The Bahamas, the overall fiscal deficit for the first seven months of Fiscal year 2014/15 widened by almost $49 million to $290.5 million on account of higher spending. For the $829.8 million the government received in that period they spent $1.1 billion.
Now, of course, governments can’t be run exactly like businesses and borrowing is a necessary evil especially for big capital projects. For example, bundled somewhere in that $1.1 billion is the expenditure on the new Defence Force ships. Responsible borrowing can be a tool for. The problem is when each year we grow the deficit: that is spending more than we can bring in.
VAT might actually achieve the primary goal of adding to the treasury and close that deficit gap, albeit at the cost of growth in the private sector (AKA where most Bahamians are employed.) So it’s just odd to me how the government is acting.
If someone saves you from a burning house, like the Bahamian tax payers are doing for our wise leaders, you don’t run back into the fire. We’ve bailed out your government, Mr. Christie, don’t come asking for seconds. Especially if you decide to stay in a burning house.