My name is Casey Goff and I write to you today along with my fellow Caymanians Chaz Hill and Eden Hurlston. Together, we represent the members of a group known as Caymanians & Expats United Against Taxation.
As a group we have very little interest in how our country has arrived at the threshold where we now stand. We concern ourselves with the past only so that the mistakes of ourselves and others may be identified; then used to educate ourselves in such a way that history is unable to repeat itself.
Our vision is for the future.
Despite the euphemistic title you have used to describe a payroll tax it remains just that, a tax.
Your proposal is therefore a direct tax, which is to be levied on a subsection of our population, so please allow us to refer to it as such.
The payroll tax, which has been put forth by your administration, is discriminatory and as our group looks forward to the implementation of Human Rights in Cayman on November 6th, 2012, we cannot accept it. Additionally, the proposed tax will reduce the purchasing power of those on whom it is levied, and therefore be detrimental to our economy. Furthermore, the implementation of a direct tax will no longer afford the Cayman Islands the title of a tax neutral jurisdiction, which is the foundation of the way in which most countries of this world see our nation.
Of particular concern to us is the information contained within the Miller-Shaw report. This report, which was compiled by professional economists, speculated that the implementation of direct taxation in our jurisdiction would result in the contraction of our economy.
Since the announcement of the proposed payroll tax it has been highly scrutinised by the international press.
We also assume your administration has recently received reports that present evidence contrary to the above. We arrived at this assumption as it is simply impossible for us to believe that our government would be irresponsible enough to implement a policy of this magnitude, which goes directly against the conclusions reached by their own commissioned reports, without first consulting a wide range of knowledgeable economists.
Therefore, on behalf of the Caymanian people, we call for you to release these reports into the public domain so as to alleviate some of our concerns related to the payroll tax.
We wish to present to you a series of proposals that show how our government can increase existing revenue streams as well as produce new ones, whilst also minimising the negative effects of such measures on our economy.
Although some of the proposals we intend to propose shall require initial capital injections to create a new stream of revenue our group has aimed to maximise short term return by focusing on alternatives which have preexisting methods of collection. This is strengthened by our opinion that an approach that produces the desired revenue through a series of relatively small gains across a diversified range of government policies provides less risk of a budget shortfall than would otherwise be the case with a single piece of legislation We acknowledge the fact that our current budgetary issues are the result of careless and excessive expenditure by our government in recent times.
The budget that has just been submitted to the FCO appears to propose total expenses that exceed last year’s projections by nearly $60 million.
To achieve the positive results of last year your administration asked the public to provide you with greater amounts of revenue. Although there were several, the request that stands out most significantly is the 2 per cent increase in duty charges on all dutiable items. We again find ourselves being asked to provide government with additional revenues. Although the revenue generating measures we shall propose include both short term and long term measures, we refuse to once again allow our government to use these measures as a temporary patch over our increasingly unsustainable budget.
We will therefore also present to you a series of proposals which are aimed at reducing government expenditure. We will therefore look forward to your response, and respectfully ask that it be made within the public forum as the group which addresses you today is nothing more than the voice of Cayman.