Heyliger not in favour of road tax increase

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PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The United People’s (UP) party leader and Member of Parliament Theo Heyliger said he does not and has not supported any increase of the road tax. He prefers government-owned companies to pay their “fair share in concession” to Government.

“I had told the former Finance Minister the increase did not have my support. I do not believe in any tax increase on the already burdened population. However, contrary to common belief, my voice is one among many and the financial constraints of government won out when it came to the law,” Heyliger said on Wednesday.

The law amendment to increase the road tax by some 18.6 per cent when tabled in Parliament will not have Heyliger’s support. “I said it to the former Finance Minister when this increase was discussed several months ago and I stick by that stance,” he said.

The law amendment is set to be tabled in a Central Committee meeting of Parliament on Thursday.

The UP leader said he has always been in favour of government owned companies and entities paying their fair share to government, instead of increasing any burden on the people of the country. “It has always been my position that companies like the airport must pay government a concession fee to aid with the financial situation. Government companies are not poor and should do more for the community, after all these belong to the people and should benefit them,” Heyliger said.

Bureau Telecommunication and Post (BTP) needs to do its part as well. “I just had a Parliament meeting on the state of affairs at BTP. That Bureau has the highest paid director in all of government and it hardly contributes to the financial position of government. That’s one place we can find money to boost the budget,” he said.

“BTP has done little to truly regulate our telecom industry. St. Maarten has one of the lowest levels of bandwidth in the region. BTP collects tremendous fees as a regulator for government yet it pays hardly anything to the coffers,” Heyliger said.