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Sep 25, 2020

Another Tax Break for Wealthy Landowners?

Cordel Hyde

Are big time landowners across the country once again getting a tax break?  Another bill was introduced in parliament today by Minister of Natural Resources Hugo Patt that raised serious concerns from the opposition.  The premise of the proposed legislation has to do with relief in respect of the payment of land taxes amid the existing economic situation brought about by COVID-19.  In response to the bill, Lake Independence Area Representative Cordel Hyde was first to raise his objection.


Cordel Hyde, Area Representative, Lake Independence

“A year ago, the government wrote off ninety million dollars in accrued land taxes.  Half of those taxes were owed by thirty big land owners who together owned a combined almost five hundred thousand acres, and now this.  So forgive us, Madame Speaker, if we are a little or a tad jaded on this side.  We understand that we are in the middle of COVID, we’re in the middle of a pandemic that has claimed twenty-two lives and has laid in ruins much of our economy.  We get that.  What we don’t get is what the new land tax would mean in terms of lost revenue to the government and people of Belize.  How many persons will benefit?  Who are these persons who will benefit and just how expect this proposed relief to spur the economy.  Will these big land owners use the money to invest or it’s just a gift.  The paper lacks some details, Madame Speaker, and I think it’s just kind of unfair for us to consider a paper of this magnitude with so many unanswered questions.”

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