A few weeks ago, the papers were alive with debate and outrage over a Barbados Government plan to levy a special tax, a “user fee”, upon water sports – supposedly to facilitate the formation of a special force of “sea rangers” who would then be used to protect the environment in coastal areas.
“User Fees” are, in effect, nothing more than additional taxes directed at specific markets. Governments throughout the ages have long sought to conceal additional taxation under the guise of “user fees”.
The idea is that at a certain point, the public will rebel against further general tax increases – whether income tax, property tax or general consumption taxes like the VAT or import duties.
To get around this resistance, the Government “divides and conquers” through the imposition of narrowly focused taxes upon highly specific activities.
And Always The Promise Of The Government…
“We are only collecting these user fees to fund a very important project for which there are not enough funds in the general revenues.”
But like highway taxes that don’t build highways, and airport fees that never lengthen a runway, a “watersports” tax has little chance of being directed towards the cleaning up of the coast.
Nope, any additional tax revenues will undoubtedly have to go to the interest on the Cricket World Cup – for many years to come.
Tide Against Water Charge
Published on: 7/12/06 – The Nation Newspaperby ROY R. MORRIS
GOVERNMENT is about to start charging watersports operators or their clients every time they go snorkelling, diving, sailing, skiing or participate in other activities in any area designated as a marine protected zone.
It’s all part of a larger plan to set up a Barbados Marine Management Agency to manage and protect the island’s coastal areas, with funds going toward the establishment of a special force of “sea rangers” who would be vested with some of the powers now held by the police and Coast Guard…
Continue reading the story in The Nation News here.