PHILIPSBURG--United Democrats (UD) Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams said at a press conference on Thursday that Finance Minister Ardwell Irion seems hesitant to table his tax reform plans to Parliament and says the minister is steering clear of using the term tax reform and instead wants to refer to the plans as improvements.
“It seems as if the minister of finance is doing everything to keep the issue of tax reform from reaching before Parliament,” the MP told reporters at the virtual press conference.
“Apparently the minister of finance does not want to have that discussion,” she said, adding that the country is being continuously promised “this big tax reform plan,” but in responding to a question on the reform, the minister “said not to call it reform, we are improving.”
She said this issue was proposed in the country package and she asked where the country is as it relates to issues like value-added tax (VAT). “Where are we with these; are they part of this plan to come to Parliament? Why can’t the St. Maarten government, just like the Curaçao government that is already subjected to country packages, deal with some incremental urgent issues in the areas of tax reform?” she asked.
“Do we really want to do something about tax reform? Do we really want to give the people some relief as we continue to reform the tax system and why do we have to try to reinvent the wheel?” she continued, adding that there are numerous low-hanging fruits that government can apply easily, but instead they opt for putting on “a big show.”