JTUM rejects residential property tax

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

JTUM leader Ancel Roget.

THE Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) is saying a firm “no!” to the property tax even as government debated a bill in the Senate on Tuesday that seeks to reduce the tax from three per cent to two.

The umbrella trade union body is demanding no property tax be levied on the population at this time.

At a press conference in Port of Spain on Monday, JTUM president Ancel Roget said, “Our position is not to decrease (the tax) from three per cent to two percent or from two per cent to one percent.

Our position is no per cent! Absolutely no property tax for residential owners at this time. We are saying enough is enough.”

Roget said this tax would be an onerous burden on people who would have saved over the years to enhance and extend their properties to accommodate growing families.

“And now they are going to tax you for that.”

He also pointed out that while some home-owners would have done nothing to enhance their property, the establishment of malls or major developments in or near their property, would have increased its value.

“That is the formula they are using to work out what you must pay as tax on your property.”

Saying this was patently unfair, Roget, who was joined by representatives of the Postal Workers’ Union, Communication Workers’ Union, and the Fire Services Association, said he was sceptical about JTUM rejects residential property tax government’s true intent.

“The sting in the tail for them, is that they want to give power to the Minister of Finance, that fella who wants to tax everything he sees passing in front of him, to increase the taxation anytime he sees fit,” Roget claimed.

Having failed the economic and energy policies where less revenue is now being collected, Roget said government is now turning on the population to shoulder that loss in revenue.

“Every time the PNM fails with their policy, fail to generate revenue for the country, they turn on the people and tax them in every conceivable way,” he fumed.

Roget claimed even dreams are taxed, as people who engage in Play Whe sometimes depend on dreams to choose the numbers which they gamble on. “If you dream Imbert and you play the number 36, they tax you for that.”

He asked why government was intent on taxing residential owners who represent most of the population already burdened with increased gas prices, cost of living, inflation, electricity rates and pending water rates, and not the big business owners.

The big business that generates income with their properties, unlike residential owners who don’t rent their property but are being taxed as if they do “You are sparing your friends the big businesses. I want to remind the population, this is a government for the rich. Your prime minister would have declared publicly, and he never changed from that direction, that he believes the rich should get richer.

“They are a government for the rich and therefore, it is no surprise when they attempt to place increased taxation on the population, they start with residential.

“Our position is, tax the one percent, tax the establishment of all those commercial properties. Tax the industrial owners who generate income from their properties and do not place that burden on citizens, on the residential home-owners.”