PHILIPSBURG–A 2.5 per cent “real estate” tax and the levying of a flat ten per cent income tax are proposed by People’s Progressive Party (PPA), headed by former Member of Parliament (MP) Gracita Arrindell, in its manifesto themed “Strong, Safe and Secure St. Maarten.”
The new tax of 2.5 per cent will target people who own property in the country and has been calculated by PPA, to have the potential of generating some NAf. 136 million annually for the country. This amount would fill the gap created by the fixing of the income tax levy at a flat 10 per cent for everyone in the country. Pensioners will be completely exempted from income tax, though those who are property owners may still have to contribute to the real estate tax.
“We want to return the purchasing power to the people,” Arrindell explained at the manifesto launch at the party’s headquarters on Front Street, on Monday, “The time has come for the creation of a legacy we can all be proud of.”
The real estate tax, an essential tax on property owners, is “socially correct,” said Arrindell.
A “real estate property registry” will be created to properly levy and track the tax. All properties in the country will have to be (re)valuated to tag the correct value and tax amount. The party, if voted into Parliament, will work with the Cadastre and real estate owners, among others, to create the registry.
The manifesto offers short, medium and long term plans of the party and “spans for the next decade and beyond.” It is built on the premise of “scan, screen and present” method of tackling community and country needs based on most urgent.
The party is focused on “the potential of what is locally available” in expertise to help with building the country. Local and foreign investments are seen as necessary to the country’s further development.
PPA sees increasing entrepreneurship and the bettering of education via no school fees as vital to boosting of the economy, as is “a big shift in the tax levy.”
Stability in the financial sector, bringing back investor confidence in the St. Maarten product, and encouraging taxpayers to pay their fair share are core areas of interest for the party.
For job creation, PPA intends to look to the marine maintenance, a sector with “huge demand” on St. Maarten. Arrindell sees this sector as ripe for young people to gain skills and build careers.
Attracting better quality tourists, rather than more tourists is also key to the country’s economic recovery, said Arrindell.
The promotion of agriculture will move the country to food security while better quality social housing at a real social price will keep the people well sheltered, she added.
On the health front, resolving of issues at St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) and the promotion of e-medical options are embraced by the orange party.
“Eradicating of the landfill” is on the party’s agenda. “The next generation should not see the dump in the city centre,” said Arrindell.
A copy of the full manifesto will be lodged by PPA with the Electoral Council. An abridged version of the PPA manifesto is available on the party’s website: www.ppa.sx.
Source: Daily Herald
PPA plans real estate tax and flat income tax levy