Premier Bush proposes deficit budget

Petrol duty to increase

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Cayman
will raise import duties on petrol, increase its total public sector
debt to
more than $623 million and plans to end its next budget year with
another
operating deficit.

Premier
McKeeva Bush’s $510.3 million spending plan is slightly more modest than
the
budget his government rolled out last October and calls for further cuts
in the
government service.

However,
Mr. Bush said there were signs that the world economic spiral that has
hit
Cayman hard since the last quarter of 2008 was beginning to ease up. He
said
the local economy should reap the benefits if it was in a position to
receive
them.

“It
is a new dawn,” Mr. Bush told members of the Legislative Assembly during
Tuesday’s budget and policy address. “But we must not forget that the
light
reaches us with a delay.”

The
proposed increase in import duty for gasoline and diesel fuel was
expected to
take effect in July – next month – and will raise import duty on both
gas and diesel fuel by 25 cents per gallon. 

The
duty
increase was proposed to take effect only in Grand Cayman and Little
Cayman. Mr. Bush said Cayman Brac would be spared the increase.

The
new
revenue measure, the only major one proposed for the 2010/11 budget,
was
expected to raise $10.3 million within the next year.

A
number of cuts in the civil service will take effect on 1 July,
including a 3.2
per cent salary decrease. Mr. Bush said all legislators would take a
corresponding 3.2 per cent cut in pay, except for himself and Opposition
Leader
Kurt Tibbetts who would receive a ten per cent salary reduction.

Please
see the full story in Wednesday’s Caymanian Compass…

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