Budget 2012/2013: Pennies for Poverty and Champagne for Charlatans

Posted: October 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

It’s that magical time of year once again. No not Christmas, but pretty close for those who have Government connections and those who are waiting for handouts alike. While citizens expected for once a balanced budget to cut off the bleeding of the economy by high Government spending, what we received rather than their belt being tightened, was it being tied into a noose and draped around the citizenry’s neck. Sprinkle some fairy dust read on as we attempt to make sense of the senseless. 

Gas/Transport (and some environment, sort of….):
Gas Subsidy Gone. Yep, that’s right, the one thing making transport affordable is wispped away with an instant 44% increase in the price of Premium Gas. This is only the start however as there seems to be a scheme but with no schedule to remove all Gas subsidies. At least we can trust the Government with it, it’s not like they would proclaim anything before needed ent? I wonder if the Ministers families going to pay for un-subsidized Gas now or if it’s going to be on expense accounts. Doh worry nah Kams, you and the Circus can continue driving around in the Clown Car at tax payers expense. 

Number crunching time, The Finance Minister presents his numbers of the savings. 
Cost of Gas subsidies annually- $4B. 
Revenue from current reduction and projected reduction on Gas subsidies- Less than $100M
The PM claims that only 6% of motorists use premium gas, a figure which has no reference backing it and that the general public has expressed disagreement with. Nothing new however, as the Finance Minister claimed that we have had 1.3% economic growth with a top independant economist claiming after that that figure seems like it was pull out of thin air. Kamla-nomics at its best!

The Finance Minister went on about encouraging CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) run cars which would be eco-friendly. So here’s the plan, make Premium too expensive to afford. Make the cheaper dirtier fuel the better alternative. Build GNC stations and with some fairy dust hope that people covert their entire engines. Bottom Line? Some of his partners getting nice CNG station construction contracts. Done true to PP form, all flair, no gear. 

Finally on this misguided Merry-go-round section, the plan to introduce Toll Booths. Yes, because pretty and pocketing is more important than people and progress. Increased Traffic, More burden on driving citizens (with gas prices up already), Increased cost of public transport, Creating robbery targets. Our tax dollars paving the road, will be used to build the booths, and put more people under government employment (considering they use people), all to charge us for using our own already small and bottle-necked roads.

Food:
Not sure if there is much to say here. At the “Pre-Budget Rally” (allya ever hear such mess? A Pre-Budget Rally?) there was the announcement that there will be no VAT on local food items and that no child shall go hungry. What the PM neglected to mention is that there is already no VAT on most local food items. Thank you Madam PM for reducing our 0% to 0%. Politicking at its finest (or worse when the public realizes). On another note, how does a watermelon get from Mayaro to HiLo St. Augustine? Gas. So with the eventual phasing out of the subsidy food would end up costing more in the long run. Unless the Finance Minister’s plan of pixie powder to fly the goods from point A to B comes through. 

Benefits:
Time to dip into the stockings now and see what Kamla-Clause has for the down-trotten. While I do agree with the survival benefit and disabled benefits being raised, this was done in the usual pull a few blue bills out of the stockings and throw. No real assessment as to the true needs of disadvantaged groups in society. To repeat myself on a statement: ‘What the disabled need to integrate better into our unaware society is not the ability to “eat-ah-food,” it is measures to facilitate them due to their disabilities. Mandatory wheelchair ramps and more career opportunities for sign language interpreters etc. is what is needed, not some more $ thrown at them like they are beggars. ‘ Continue to treat someone like a dog for long enough and they will enevtually bark, just don’t complain when they bite you one day.

Property Tax:
Yes the tax is back. They claim it is different from what Manning proposed (and the middle class helped to quickly booted him out for). Nothing more was really said. Given the track record they have, we can expect the same or worse but with it looking quite pretty and a an elaborate plan to convince us that this is what we want. Prepare for the propaganda and property tax. On this topic. Now they have lowered certain rates to make it easier to be a homeowner now, via constructing a home (so they say, waiting to see how it plays out). So let them build up, then tax the hell out of them. Get a man a job, to rob him on the way home, interesting tactic.

Security: 
Still no hard and real ways to deal with us being a top drug transit point in the region. Although the National Security Minister will be far from frowning. The Minister of National Security has his own security company. He has been given $289M for Crime initiatives before the budget, and has a multi-$Billion budget to play with. Now VAT taken away on cameras. More $ for his pocket and less for the country. Also the $1000 tax relief that Police Officers get have been extended to the SRPs (i.e. Jack’s Private “Cepep/URP Inspired” Police Force). What is just as important to an oppressor as manpower? How bout a budget that helps him make more money from tax payer’s pockets, while paying less taxes himself. Best he jumps in the van with the bandits that he seeks to arrest. 

Casinos: 
One thing that i agree with in the budget is a step taken against the Casinos (in the form of a higher tax) that are popping up like weeds and being used not only to corrupt our morals in society further but are used to launder Money all over. Note though, those involved in money laundering will pay the extra tax, so its time to put more measures in place to cut this problem out asap. Set quotas for equipment, and make it difficult to zone. Don’t just tax them, cut the problem at its root. Some light here but not enough for us to see. 

Overall Figure:
$58.4 billion 
$7.669 billion Deficit.
This was looking promising to be a balanced budget with cut backs in ludicrous Government spending (especially in personal spending and self interest projects) but alas, we relieve the largest Budget yet with a short presentation and a further $7.669B in the hole (thought the last Govt emptied the treasury but like Howai’s belief in magic trumps financing).

The Government called this “The People’s Budget” and a “Poor Man’s Budget.” Well they didn’t lie, just didn’t say that it was in a negative context. The people are the one who have to catch tail here (mainly the working class) and the poor man has to take the chain up here where they give it. This budget looks like a “rich getting richer while the poor is getting poorer” budget. Billions flying around with little clarification. Claiming Trinidad and Tobago people will prosper while calculated plans to raid the barn by the wealthy and those in power are being set into motion by this year’s budget. A few “eat-ah-food” dependency programs like Cepep are being expanded to make us a more dependent society and a few hand out hampers to keep others quiet. 

The big question of how the working man’s income is now going to be boosted to meet the new expenses and Government’s increased spending prevails. What everyone must remember is that the Finance Minister stands strongly behind this budget, given his belief that Magic will fill in the prominent gaps. Or as the AG might say to anyone who doesn’t give 100% support to this Budget- “All of Dem Iz PNM!”


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