Today’s Editorial for June 25: Pick your poison

The Cayman Islands community has
started to realise the impacts of having duty on fuel raised from the current
50 cents per gallon to 75 cents per gallon.

Not only will the duty hike affect
the cost of gasoline, it will also increase the cost of electricity by 5.5 per
cent according to Caribbean Utilities Company estimates.  It will also have a knock-on effect on all
the price of all goods and services here because of increased overhead costs.

It comes as no surprise that many
people are complaining about the announced increase because no one wants to pay
more money for anything. But we are dismayed that many people are still under
the delusional assumption the government can get through the current budget
crisis without them having to pay anything. The simple fact is: it can’t.

As we have pointed out several
times, getting past the financial crisis is going to cause pain to the wallets
or pocketbooks to most of the Islands’ residents.  We have advocated strongly against direct
taxation, in particular any kind of income or payroll tax.  We have also advocated keeping a consumption
model when it comes to any necessary taxation.

We fully understand that Cayman is
already an expensive place to live and visit. 
We fully understand the implications of increased duty on gasoline. But
we also understand what the imposition of income/payroll taxes would be on the
Cayman Islands, and we feel higher prices on goods and services is preferable
to travelling down the slippery slope of direct taxation.

The Cayman government has gone to
the private sector/financial industry well as much as it could, but the well is
now dry and the people of these Islands must – whether they like it or not –
share the burden of balancing the budget.

A higher gasoline tax and its
knock-on price increases still fall under the category of consumption
taxes.  The more people consume, the more
they pay, and everyone has the ability to offset the price increases by
consuming less – either through cutback or higher efficiencies.  We suggest people just grin and bear it and
be thankful their pay checks are still intact.

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