Budget can’t be justified

We refer to the press reports and the Legislative Assembly proceedings on the recent budget.

There are good areas of spending in it.

However there is no new innovative ways for Government to make money. This is a spending budget that is not prudent. Anyone can spend but only smart people can make money.

The budget speeches and debates talk about Government seeking to borrow $94 million. This is not the full transparent picture.

The Government and statutory authorities and subsidiaries are seeking to borrow $120,618,000. The total public sector debt is estimated to increase from $365 million to $486 million and there is $130 million of unfunded pension liability making a total of debt and liability of $615 million. This is frightening.

This is only the beginning; for example the two government administration buildings (why two now?) will cost $74 million.

Forty years of accumulated debt to the year 2000 when our government (a team of legislators who put the country, not the party first) went out of office, the debt was only $107.8 million. The Peoples Progressive Movement supported by the Leader of the Opposition propose to borrow more in one year ($120 million) than the total 40 year accumulated debt up to the year 2000 ($107.8 million).

Statutory authorities and subsidiaries debt will escalate from $15 million to $203,801,000. We hope the public sees the new way to borrow is through statutory authorities, which started heavy borrowings in the year 2002 by the UDP Government.

We are attaching the pages 324 and 325 of the 2006/7 budget annual plan and estimates and the year 2000 to show the truth of these figures.

We hope the United Kingdom considers the ramifications of these massive borrowings and large debt.

With a surplus of $32.5 million how can the so called compassionate Government justify $23.3 million in taxes mostly on local Caymanians and residents?

Why not present the budget with a $9.2 million surplus and no taxes or better still $9.2 million plus the large salary increases of the Leader of Government and Leader of Opposition.

In summary, the political parties have increased the taxes and propose to increase the total government public sector debt from $109 million in the year 2000 when the teams were running government to $485 million.

Cayman has paid a $376 million price for the PPM and UDP parties in four short years.

Political parties have wrecked the other Caribbean Islands because of their near absolute power and Cayman will be the same if the parties are left unchecked.

There are few independent views – mainly the party’s view, which may be heavily influenced by party members who are not elected legislators and who the public never voted in.

We believe it is harsh and not very conscionable to inflict taxes especially on the poorer Caymanians indirectly who are now trying to recover from Hurricane Ivan to justify a $32.5 million surplus.

Truman Bodden
John McLean