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Trinidad: Imbert-No taxes for two years

FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert has promised no new taxes for at least the next two years.

“What we’ve tried to do this year is consolidate. That’s why we have not raised taxes and we have no plans in the next two years to increase taxes. I just want to let you know that now because we think we have increased taxes to the point that is a stable level; there would be diminishing returns if we sought to increase income and corporation taxes,” Imbert told the audience at the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s annual post-budget forum.

A smiling Imbert made jokes as he sought to charm his audience.

“When I arrived I sat next to (two executives from the alcohol and cigarette industries) and they thanked me for not raising the price on their products,” Imbert opened his presentation to chuckles through the room. Another presenter, he continued, thanked him for not raising income tax or corporation tax. “Those things were deliberate. What we’ve tried to do in this administration is, whatever we do is based on research, evidence and data. And while there is always a temptation—the rating agencies urge countries to continuously raise taxes on alcohol and tobacco— when we looked at the effect, since these are considered inelastic goods that people will buy regardless of whatever taxes you put on them, what we found was that the increase in revenue did not occur as anticipated.”

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