For more than twelve years a large number of items have been tax exempt as a result of legislation passed during the Turnbull administration. As I watched many employees from liquor distributors and a number of main street merchants; signs in hand protesting, I had to wonder. Are they aware of this fact? Did any of the merchants or distributers pass on millions in savings to those same employees in the form of wage increases? Were these employees offered any new benefits or insurance? The fever pitch opposition to the SIN TAX by the Chambers of commerce comes down to sheer GREED.
Ask some of the vocal merchants and the Chamber president that are against the SIN TAX to publicly acknowledge how long these items have been exempt from excise taxes, while every other item (many of them NEEDS) have been taxed on the backs of the poor and middle class?
Perfume is exempt, Handbags are exempt, Video cameras are exempt, Still cameras are exempt, Shoes are exempt, Luggage is exempt, Trunks are exempt, Suitcases are exempt, Attaché case’s are exempt, Belts are exempt , Watches are exempt , Jewelry is exempt ,Leather Goods are exempt, Make up is exempt.
For rolling years’ retailers have been able to stuff their pockets full with cash to the tune of millions of dollars as a result of the exemption. And that’s ok… surely many have worked hard and have made tangible contributions to the VI. However, it is downright unconscionable that the Chambers of Commerce are now against marginal increases on the items proposed in the Sin Tax. Carry a portion of the damn load!!
Baby pampers, food, building supplies and any number of other merchandise that the working class and small businesses needs and uses on a daily basis must continue to carry all the tax load? Not ah thing going so. After making millions; many of the most vocal business sector opponents are content to continue stuffing their pockets and are balking at marginal increases on a few items. And why should they share in the load when many of them are sitting very pretty finically? Check it out. While the poor and middle class struggle day in and day out they telling ayo they don’t give a damn, you just keep carrying the load.
Now insult to injury:
What are one of the major proposals the Chamber comes up with? To raise your property tax! As if enough Virgin Islanders have not had to leave their home because they can’t afford to comfortably put food on the table and pay their property tax. Pay attention to what’s going on with this issue because it’s got much more in the mortar than some realize.
Ask the business leaders exactly who orchestrated this wide swath of exemptions through legislation?
Ask them who have benefited to the tune of HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS over the years.
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