Today’s Editorial December 04: Duty hikes mean higher cost of living

If you’ve needed some incentive to quit smoking, it appears Government is giving you a good one.

The duty on cigarettes is going up – probably within the next two weeks.

Right now the duty on 1,000 cigarettes – or five cartons – is $52.50. That figure is going up to $105 per 1,000 as soon as the bill increasing tariffs on an array of dutiable items is gazetted.

While the Government is counting on duty from the smokes to line its coffers, we would hope that the increase on cigarettes would give some who suck in the nasty smoke pause before doling out their hard earned cash.

Cigarettes are taking the hardest hit in the duty increases. Alcohol prices are also going up, but not nearly as much – from $10.50 a litre to $11.55. Beer is also taking a hit.

The Compass agrees with these ‘sin taxes.’ Not only are these items highly consumed in the Cayman Islands by locals and visitors, they are to blame for many of the health problems and domestic violence issues that plague our country.

Expats who send money overseas can also expect to pay more for the service because the fees for money services companies to operate are going up.

Prices on imported food are also going up, which means grocery bills will become even higher. Residents would be wise to seek out local meat and produce. Those planning on using imported beef for the popular Cayman Christmas dish can expect to dig a little deeper in their pockets as the duty on imported beef is increasing from 15 per cent to 17 per cent.

Christmas shoppers can plan on duty to increase on all dutiable items within the next couple of weeks.

Government has assured us that the duty increases will come into play before the end of the year – not beginning 1 January as was touted before – with an eye on capturing some much needed money for the Government’s bank accounts.

The duty increases are necessary to help the Cayman Islands Government get a grip on the massive budget problems with which this country is faced.

It looks like we’re all getting the opportunity to give Government a helping hand.