A brief statement confirming that the payroll tax proposal was now “withdrawn” from consideration was sent out Saturday morning by a group of local business owners.
A group of leading local business owners said late Friday that an agreement had been reached to provide “an alternative solution” to the Cayman Islands government’s proposed ten per cent payroll tax, which would only have been charged to expatriate workers making at least $36,000 per year.
According to the statement issued by Woody Foster, Brigitte Kirkconnell-Shaughness, Roy McTaggart, Dan Scott, A.L. Thompson, Gene Thompson and Wilbur Thompson, Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush “was prepared” to consider alternatives proposed.
Premier Bush later clarified the issue in a statement sent out to members of the local press: “The proposed community enhancement fee will only be withdrawn if alternative revenue measures that do not affect the ordinary Caymanian can be implemented.”
Premier Bush said an announcement regarding that issue would be forthcoming on Monday evening.
The statement issued by the local business owners Friday read as follows: “We, the undersigned, requested a meeting and subsequently met with the Premier to provide an alternative solution for revenue measures to the proposed “Community Enhancement Fee.” We were advised that if we were able to provide sound, viable alternatives, the Premier and the Government would be prepared to consider these alternatives.
“We are pleased to say that after many hours of careful review and input from most sectors of the business community, we were able to propose alternatives that are acceptable to the Premier and the Cayman Islands Government in lieu of the “Community Enhancement Fee.” We support the Premier and his efforts to meet the parameters set for the budget.
“We recognize that in order to reach this point, it will require all areas of the economy to participate and contribute to the revenue enhancements and they should not be borne by any single sector.
“Clearly the proposed Community Enhancement Fee has created polarity and division within our community, and this has caused us great concern.
“We are a welcoming diverse society that recognizes the contributions of Caymanians and expatriates alike, and we are confident that the new revenue measures will provide a way to share equitably the responsibility of providing revenue to the Government.
“The Premier has committed to making a public statement on Monday night at the Mary Miller Hall agreeing to suggestions – proposed by us and others – and removing the Community Enhancement Fee from further consideration. At this time, he will provide details on the new revenue measures that Government is considering.
“Our purpose is making this brief statement at this time is to help relieve the anxiety that presently exists within our community.”