Economist, Mr. Vernon Harris, while speaking on local radio Tuesday, indicated that investing in infrastructure can be a way for the government to create jobs and stimulate growth.
He added that the federation has a very narrow tax base due to its small population and he further explained that the government and the IMF have broadened the tax base to an already demoralised country and work force.
Harris referred to the Caribbean Development Bank Report on Poverty, which stated that a quarter of the population of the children in the country go to school with insufficient calories, affecting their ability to concentrate and work effectively because they are not properly fed. It was also Harris’ argument that all this could eventually lead to a higher percentage of men and women coming out of college and schools with no jobs.
If government continues to tax people and increase the cost of living, this would only reduce their standard of living. It is the economist’ opinion that if the government had not been so cavalier and ran up this huge National Debt, the federation would have been able to use some its revenue to help put a stimulus package together and encourage economic growth, but instead the country has been pushed up the creek without a paddle, struggling to find its way out of its economic mess.
A stimulus plan provides tax rebates directly to taxpayers, he explained. As an example, Harris reminded that in February 2008, a stimulus package was passed in the United States which provided most taxpayers with a $600 rebate, married couples with a $1200 rebate, and parents with a $300 rebate for each child. The government hoped that this money would be used to re-stimulate the economy. However, Harris was not too optimistic when he suggested that the people of St. Kitts and Nevis should just pray and hope for inspiration.