Rumours are flying through the community about what kind of revenue measures the government will implement to get through the financial crisis.
Cayman Islands residents seem resigned to the idea that some kind of new taxes will be implemented to create a wider revenue base.
Although people know some kind of new or increased tax is coming, there are a lot of fears about just what will come.
It doesn’t help that the scenarios are changing by the day.
The government made statements about suspending pensions payments for civil servants and shortly thereafter recanted them. It talked about temporarily cutting salaries of civil servants making more than $3,000 per month, only to take the option off the table days later.
Now we’re hearing about community service fees, payroll taxes, increased import duties and additional taxes on alcohol. No one knows what to believe.
We can appreciate that the government is sailing into uncharted territory when considering direct taxation. The government is undoubtedly considering many different ideas as it seeks to find the kinds of taxation that will be fair and not destroy the delicate fabrics of Cayman society.
But if it is only considering ideas, the government should stop making public statements about these potential taxes. It should test the waters with various non-governmental organisations instead of the public at large.
The government isn’t the only one struggling to get through the economic downturn. Business owners and residents in all walks of life are facing challenges. These people don’t need the added stress caused by governing by popular opinion.
The government was elected to make difficult decisions. Let them consult with a wide range of advisers, figure out a solution that works best for the future prosperity of the Cayman Islands and then let us know afterwards what has been decided.
Until then, they should keep the ideas to themselves.