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Perspective: Property Tax Outcry

dr Peter Phillips on property tax leader

Photo: Dr. Peter Phillips


 

There has been considerable public outcry regarding steep increases in property taxes.  Property taxes by law are to be reviewed every 5 years.  Successive administrations have been doing so in an erratic way.  The previous PNP government did a valuation but refused to implement the new valuations since 2002.  It is now the misfortune of the JLP to implement the 2013 evaluation … which is the most recent one.  This is a massive increase and will cause dislocation for the  most pensioners and those on fixed incomes and other low income members of our society.
Cheap Popularity
We do not know if it is pure incompetence or, an attempt by the PNP to deceive the public with the falsehood that property taxes could stay artificially low forever. There seems to be the legendary popularity game that has been played to the detriment of our future. Effective leadership is no popularity contest.  If in the process of leading one gets popular, we then say “To God be the glory great things He hath done”
The Holness led JLP seem by pattern, not to be inclined to put popularity ahead of what is good for the people and ultimately Jamaica.  There is no room for cheap popularity.
Bite The Bullet
The JLP seem never afraid to ask constituents to bite the proverbial bullet even if in doing so leads to a drop in their popularity.
Dr. Peter Phillips, the newly crowned president of the PNP,  is now exploiting the massive public outcry to apparently gain political advantage over the JLP.  There is nothing is immoral about this, but it is could be viewed as short sighted and the Jamaican public who is getting better educated daily could frown on this “cheap” type of politicking. The only response to this has to be public education and a payment plan for those experiencing real hardship.  There are relief mechanisms for seniors but people seem not very inclined to trigger these mechanisms … for reasons not very clear.
There are reports that some properties could see their taxes increase by  some 500%.
Review
We hope the government will see the need to further review the rates in the public’s interest. There is need for the taxes to run the country and such is inescapable.  Let us not fool ourselves in any false notion that there is no need for taxes.
This is our perspective, unfortunately as painful as it may appear.  Do you see another way out? Let us hear from you now.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie SIC Vision Newspaper.

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