Premier David Burt, who is also Finance Minister, said the Tax Reform Commission Act would help create a fairer system for the island.
“This bill is the first step to build that better and fairer Bermuda that this (Progressive Labour Party) government promised voters at the last general election.We must fully review our system to ensure that it’s the right platform to power economic growth into the future,” Burt said.
The seven-member bipartisan commission will be given a broad scope to look at ways to create an equitable tax structure that keeps the island competitive internationally.
Michael Dunkley, the former premier whose One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) was routed in July’s general election, described the piece of legislation before the House on Friday as having “honourable and noble intent” but said it was imperative to ensure that taxes would be collected.
He also said it was important to ensure that the tax collected, which goes to the government, is used in the correct way and a high level of accountability would be needed.
Dunkley also claimed that the legislation being debated did not deal with the wealth gap and the assertion that tax reform would “rise our people up” would give Bermudians “false hope”.
Opposition Leader Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said the OBA had made difficult choices to keep the island from falling “over the precipice” of debt.
Junior Finance Minister Wayne Furbert said the tax structure should have been looked at long ago.
“Not one of us could stand and say the tax system in equitable. At the end of the day this is the right thing to do and I’m hoping the opposition will get on board,” he said.
Bermuda’s national debt stands at US$2.4 billion.
- Countries: Bermuda