Financial Secretary Simon Wilson, while speaking at Bahamas Chamber of Commerce State of the Economy 2017 event last week finally publicly acknowledged they are implementing the Coalition for Responsible Taxation recommendation that they needed to get the tax dodgers before hitting the taxpayers and business community with new taxes.

Regretfully they hit the business community and taxpayers up with additional taxes first and are only now, two years later, going after the tax dodgers.

He is also reported to have said that courier companies were stealing from the public treasury.

While the courier companies may have broken the law, to call them thieves for not paying taxes, does one call the government similar names for forcibly taking tax dollars, in some cases forcing losses to business and not giving a proper accounting of where the funds have gone nor do they reduce taxes as necessary?

Seems the ability to take peoples money under the threat of fines or jail time is more like theft. People being allowed to get away without paying the required taxes as some have apparently been doing for decades is a lapse by the government. Either that, outright cronyism or both.

Also, with the indication that the government could collect at much as $400 million from those that have not paid also confirms there was no need for a Value Added Tax.

In addition, blaming hurricane Matthew for the current fiscal dilemma the government finds itself in is unreasonable. There is no doubt it caused a hardship, but they’ve collected over $1 billion in VAT, yet the hurricane is said to have cost them $100 to $120 million.

According to my calculations, and I’m no fiscal genius, there’s a surplus of $900 million there, yet deficit spending continues to be piled on.

Mr. Wilson suggested the government is “doing a job controlling expenditure”. Maybe he would provide a list of the expenditures along with an accounting of where they’ve decreased.

So here’s a cheer for collecting what the law imposes from tax dodgers, but taxpayers need to know the other half of the story. i.e. Where the money has gone? If there is no accountability and no sense of reason with tax levels, the famous John Marshall quote; “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation” is confirmed yet again.

Taxing some in order to make up where others have fallen short is not an honourable practice. If there was a sincere effort by the government to be responsible with tax dollars would the need exist for these fiscal gyrations and attempted justifications?