Prakash: No PNM-styled property tax
By SEAN DOUGLAS Wednesday, September 18 2013
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AXE THE TAX: Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar, right, as he led the 'Axe The Tax' protest march around the Red House back in 2009. Ramadhar dis...
CONGRESS of the People (COP) leader Prakash Ramadhar yesterday vowed that as long as his party is a member of the People’s Partnership administration, no citizen shall pay one dollar more in Land and Building Tax, than they had been paying under the former PNM regime.
Speaking in the ongoing Budget debate in the Lower House, he recalled the COP’s ‘‘Axe the Tax — Leave My Home Alone’’ campaign as being a main pillar of the People’s Partnership’s thrust against the former PNM regime’s plan for a property tax. This tax he said could have raised some people’s tax obligations by several thousand percent. He said many families, as they go through life, spent every extra cent they earn to gradually upgrade parts of their house. His message seemed to be that such thrift was to be punished by a PNM-styled Property Tax based on valuations of properties that would rise with improvements made by home owners.
“People were afraid,” he recalled of the impending Property Tax back in 2010. “When you interfere with the confidence and the stability of a person’s home, you diminish many, many things,” he said. Holding up a photo of himself surrounded by burly police officers in riot gear, Ramadhar said he and others put their lives on the line to march around the Red House against the Property Tax on December 18, 2009. He challenged Opposition PNM MPs to state their present position on the Property Tax. Saying the PP was elected on the basis of its opposition to that tax, he vowed not to revive it. Ramadhar said the PP has no problem with a fair tax regime done after a proper assessment of premises and which is affordable. This elicited Opposition heckling which caused House Speaker Wade Mark to rise and call for calm.
Ramadhar later hailed Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj, for banning trawling which destroys the sea-bed. He said Government will mull a moratorium on hunting, so as to save wildlife. Lamenting recent flooding in Diego Martin, he cited lawless hillside development where townhouses dangerously perched now sell for $2 to $3 million. He asked whether such projects had planning permission and whether the PNM allowed such projects to occur. Ramadhar boasted of the PP’s performance, saying under its watch the country had accrued its biggest ever fiscal reserves of $93 billion. He asked the Opposition to state their position on the rapid rail and aluminium smelter, both planned projects of the former PNM regime.
Ramadhar boasted of his Ministry of Legal Affairs’ achievements in more-readily issuing personal documents such as birth, death and marriage certificates. While it had previously taken five days to get a handwritten marriage certificate, it now takes five minutes, he boasted.