“They say there would have been no new taxes to fund their promised income tax relief. Now every man, woman and child is paying for that promise,” Simpson Miller said.
She said her party had warned that it wasn’t realistic to abolish income tax for every Jamaican earning $1.5 million or less without taxes.
She said, what concerns her most is the impact this will have on the most vulnerable of the society.
“I would like to know what the prime minister is going to do for those people,” Simpson Miller added.
She said the government’s tax package was was “deceptively imposed” against the background of the promise of no new taxes.
“What is worse is that no one will get the up to $18,000, not this year, not next year, not until 2018; yet everyone will have to pay the new taxes, starting last week,” she said.
“This is not prosperity,” Simpson Miller said, “as the people are saying this is tax-perity.”
She said her government believed in easing the tax burden and that PAYE earners deserve a break. However, she said that what this government has done is give with one hand and “taking it back with both”.
At this point, government member Delroy Chuck, who had been leading the heckling for his party, shouted that the PNP believes in taking but not giving back.
Continuing her address, Simpson Miller noted that her party raised the income tax threshold three times, as the economy improved, over the four years of her administration.
“We believe that tax policies should be fair and equitable,” she said.
“We will continue to remind the people that the government’s word cannot be trusted,” she said.
“This cannot be prosperity. This is tax-perity,” she added.