Wagner puts bukut on senior citizens – no more discounts Print E-mail
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Thursday, 03 May 2018 00:00

Last Thursday, Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner came down hard like a ton of bricks on the heads of the Belize City Property Owners. The hardest hit group amongst the property owners were the Senior Citizens. According to Wagner’s pronouncements, the Belize City Council will no longer be affording any more discounts on property taxes. Prior to this announcement, the Belize City Council used to give discounts to property owners, as an incentive for them to pay. Back then the seniors were given a special discount on the property where they lived. For the senior citizens, the discount was like a Godsend, because those seniors are either on a fixed pension, or they depend on the generosity of relatives, or they live on the little rent they collect, or they live on a combination of two or more of the ways we’ve described. They would then use the 0 to 0 savings from those discounts to buy medicines, pay for specialized diets and other expenses associated with being advanced in age.

The decision of the council to discontinue the discounts appears to be a mean-spirited one, because according to Wagner himself the discounts to city residents only adds up to a little over $800,000 annually. He said “the only incentive residents should have for paying their taxes is that they get value for money in services.” We don’t know if to him and his council, value for money means giving away the city’s finances to PUP Supporters, whom he so infamously referred to as Barbarians. For the senior citizens not only will 25 percent discount on property taxes, which they enjoyed under the previous council be discontinued, but according to what was said by Wagner, those who are not up to date with their property tax will face the enforcement arm of the council. That last statement by Wagner, begs us to ask what will happen to those SENIORS who can’t or don’t pay even after being taken to court, will they be jailed for none payment, as is the norm when people don’t pay. Even with this cruel blow to poor people, Wagner still maintains, that his council is still on track with its PUP Manifesto, ‘Always About The People’. With that statement on our mind, we did a quick read of the PUP Manifesto, and we did not have to look too long, to find out, that what was promised in the manifesto is completely opposite to what is now being done.

We know that the council is under plenty pressure, because it is strapped for cash and their supporters, aka, the Barbarians, are making demands to collect on the promises, that we’re made to them in order to get their votes. Those demands if not met, we know will negatively affect the PUP’s chances of winning the General Election, whenever it is called. However, we need to remind Wagner that, he and the PUP must not put its own interests first. The solution to their money problem must contain a change of their greedy attitude. Their party’s interest must be last, not first. Most of the trouble is caused by their party putting its agenda first. What they must also understand is, that high tax rates cause lower real tax revenue collection. The City Council will cause its own revenue shortages by wanting more money than it should have. They will end up being victims of their own greedy ways. The amount of taxes that can be collected is naturally limited by the size of the surrounding economy. Attempts to make their finances larger than that limit, will cause economic trouble for the council. The people just won’t pay if they can’t and the council won’t be able to collect even was able to take everyone who owes to court.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 May 2018 13:01