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posted 7 May 2017, 09:44 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 7 May 2017, 09:49 ]
Gopaul Ramroop works at Yara (formerly Hydro Agri; formerly Norsk Hydro; formerly Fedchem) and is a member of the OWTU Yara District Committee
Let me first disclose that I am not an Economist and I thank God every morning for not punishing me into such a profession. At best, an economist, in my view, is simply a professional “guesser” with the intent to solve some economic problem.

Every economist knows what caused the problem after it happened but could have never seen it coming and only knew the solution after the problem has been rectified. Nevertheless, everyone seems to know how to solve this country’s economic problems, both economist and non-economist alike.

I will admit that I may not know for sure if my economic opinions and plans can solve this country’s problems, but I am certain that corruption and misgovernance since 1962 has played a significant role in the “economic gobhar” we, as a nation, have found ourselves in; despite the fallen oil and gas prices in a predominantly energy driven economy.

As long as there is corruption which is an expression of lickrishness (greed), no economic plan or taxation, especially property tax, will save this nation.

Is it fair or not? Imagine a person is caught speeding on the highway and instead of the perpetrator paying the fine the judge orders you who were driving lawfully and obeying all the traffic regulations to pay the fine.

Outrageous, isn’t? Well, this is exactly what the law abiding citizens or working class is facing right now in this country. We are paying or about to pay for corruption and misgovernance perpetrated by every politician, government and political party from 1962 to present.

I cannot say the future will be any different but the working class has to be awakened and mobilized for the long struggle ahead. The working class being awakened and mobilized is another issue by itself; since our so called labour leaders’ heads are so far up the political crooks’ backsides.

Governments manage and regulate the nation and its affairs accordingly. It provides goods, services, infrastructure, etc. generally from using revenue derived from taxation.

Perhaps if many of our energy sector operators such as BP, privatized businesses such as TCL/Cemex and transnational companies were nationalized, then taxes on the working class could have been much less since repatriation of profits is just leakage of revenue.

If we reduce or altogether stop the repatriation of profits by multinational corporations operating in Trinidad and Tobago, then we may have enough revenue to balance our budget and even have something to save for rainy days. Never mind that! It just easier to rape the working class, isn’t it?
Image result for corruption in trinidadLet’s assume we can’t guarantee no corruption, misgovernance and no repatriation of profits will happen overnight and therefore there is no other option but to raise revenue elsewhere, sad to say, via taxation. Why? Why? Why?

Why property tax? From my analysis, property tax is the fastest, largest sum of revenue from tax and the easiest means of taxation. This tax can be collected almost overnight, it will result in a large sum of money entering the treasury, and it is simple logistics.

Why not put a little tax on the vendors, taxi-driver, lawyers, private doctors, etc, all of whom are not paying or avoid PAYE? This would be fairer. But even this would trickle down onto the customers.

Here is what property tax really is: it is the government technically taking ownership of your property and then telling you that you have to pay tax/rent to use your own hard-earned property. And if you don’t pay the tax/rent you will lose your property. This is an infringement on a citizen’s property rights.

I have to pay to use my own property. This have to be madness! Even though many may argue, including the Prime Minister, that most countries in the world have property tax that does not make it right. Revolutionists argue that taxation is theft. It’s hard to disagree since politicians actually just pocket our hard earned money through taxation.

To put all of this into perspective, it is all but capitalism hard at work while the working class is fast asleep. It is amazing how amongst the bourgeoisie/ business community there is no race, colour, creed, gender, religion, or any kind of division that obstructs that class from collaborating to oppress the working class; but the working class will find or make any division to prevent it from fighting off this attack on itself.

Why hasn’t the trade union movement taken to the streets and shut down the country to demand a halt to this oppressive, terrorizing and unfair tax being shoved down the throats of workers? Property tax is theft. This country needs good governance, not property tax.