KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness this afternoon defended his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Government’s increase of the income tax threshold to J$1.5 million.
Holness said the increase in the threshold was giving back “into the hands of the people”. He had earlier defended the threshold increases as removing horizontal inequity where those in the informal sector did not pay income taxes.
Holness said only 500,000 of Jamaica’s 1.3 million employed citizens paid income tax.
The prime minister further asserted that the tax package introduced by his Government was revenue neutral, and took issue with Opposition spokesman on finance Dr Peter Phillips encouraging the Jamaican people to ‘reject’ the tax package.
Holness dismissed Phillips’ objections as “rum talk” and told the former finance minister “Do not ever compare the taxes this Government has imposed on the people to yours!”
Holness was making his contribution to the 2017/18 estimates of expenditure (budget) currently taking place at Gordon House.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, opened the debate on March 9, while Phillips followed with a contribution on March 14, then Leader of the Opposition, Portia Simpson Miller, on March 16.
Shaw will close the debate tomorrow afternoon.