To say that ideas submitted to us by Premier McKeeva Bush to
raise revenue for the Cayman Islands is a ‘sea change’ is putting it mildly.
The imposition of a 10 per cent payroll tax on expatriates
who make more than $20,000 while working here was a shock to residents and
And while Civil Servants at first thought they may have
escaped unscathed, they haven’t. Under the premier’s plan existing civil
servants would have to contribute around 25 per cent of the cost of their health
care premiums. Government would pick up the rest of the tab. But the spouses of
those civil servants would have to pay for their own healthcare coverage; not
The call has long gone up that the Cayman Islands Civil
Service needs to be trimmed and that those working for government do more to
pay for their share of healthcare and pensions.
That’s a fair way to help the Cayman Islands balance its
As for the payroll tax on the people who are here on work
permits, it has brought vast amounts of speculation from all sides of the
There isn’t enough known about the mechanics of the proposal
for people to begin emptying their bank accounts and packing their bags to
return to their native homes.
In the coming days the Caymanian Compass, cayCompass.com,
Observer on Sunday and The Cayman Islands Journal will attempt to dissect what
has been placed before us and give our readers and advertisers the answers to
the questions raised, including how such a tax would be collected, regulated
and administered. We have a public pension scheme in place that is in dire straits
because of the way it’s managed and enforced.
It’s too early to jump to any conclusions about this
proposed payroll tax and how it is going to affect our lives in the Cayman Islands
now and in the future.
We don’t know for certain if this is a smokescreen for
something more dire to come down the pipeline. It’s just too early to tell.
Unfortunately we find ourselves without a balanced budget
and at some juncture; Mother UK will step in and tell us how to proceed if we
can’t get our expenditures under control.