Who pays the tab for salary hikes?

We refer to the comments of the news media and releases on the below matters.

As the Leader of Government Business and PPM Government propose to raise $25 million in taxes for their ‘balanced budget’ the public gets another shock.

The Leader of Government Business gets a 15.6 per cent salary raise to CI$155,556 (US$186,000) per annum and the Leader of Opposition an 18.5 per cent raise to CI$110,592 (US$132,763) and nobody is speaking out as the people’s finances are eroded further.

Will more taxes and/or loans be needed to pay for these salary increases or where will the money come from?

The salary increases seem to smack the public in the face at a time when $25 million in revenue measures must be raised and so soon after the public voted them in. More important, these salary increases come while Cayman and its people struggle to recover from Hurricane Ivan.

The Government press release tried to justify the salary increases by stating that they ‘reflect the heavier responsibilities and prestige attached with those posts’. Can you imagine what the salary will be increased to when the constitution is changed to a Chief Minister who has much more ‘prestige’? Prestige is a privilege and the public should not have to pay for it.

We believe the public put the Leader of Government Business and Leader of Opposition in those positions to help the public and not themselves by these huge salary increases.

All 16 budgets presented when we were in Government always stated what the new taxes would be or what taxes or duties were reduced or removed.

Instead it seems that this Government is increasing duties, taxes and their salaries early in this administration, with the hope that the public will have suffered and forgotten it by the next election.

In the next Budget on 28 April will the PPM Government bring a really balanced budget without a $25 million hole, state clearly the core government and statutory authorities and subsidiaries total debt. Will the Government also state what percentage the servicing of the total debt is of the total recurrent revenues and not just that of the core Government?

Will the Leader of Government Business and the PPM Government be transparent as they say they are and tell the public what specific taxes they will raise when the budget is presented, and not at a later date, and where the money will come from for their salary increases.

Truman Bodden

John McLean

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