Today’s Editorial for September 21: Somebody has to pay

In what should come as no surprise, all the special interest groups in the Cayman Islands want someone else to carry the burden when it comes to getting the territory out of its current financial predicament.

The civil servants don’t want their jobs, salaries or benefits affected; the realtors don’t want their industry affected by a property tax; employers don’t want to pay any more in work permit or professional fees; and so it goes, right on down the line.

Then there are those who would suggest letting the expatriates bear the burden alone, not seeming to realise, or care, what the ramifications of such a measure would carry.

The possibility of new kinds of revenue bases that won’t affect the bottom lines of households or businesses isn’t being well accepted either. There’s opposition to a lottery and casino gambling; there’s opposition to dredging the North Sound to create a mega-yacht marina; there’s opposition to giving developer’s incentives; there’s opposition to increasing the population to help the economy grow.

Although it might be understandable that nobody wants to pay and that people want things to stay just the way they are, the truth of the matter is that the Cayman Islands has come to a point where somebody has to pay. Now that the territory is in a financial bind, the UK has the upper hand, and it wants the Cayman Islands to impose direct taxation. Given our ongoing capital projects and the future infrastructure needs, it’s difficult to argue with the assertion.

If we are to have new taxation, however, it must be a burden that every adult resident of working age, or at least every household, in the Cayman Islands shares.

If the territory must impose new taxes or fees, it should be done in a fair way so as not to impact any particular group or groups inordinately.