The Bermuda Chamber of Commerce’s Applauds the Government on Balance Budget

The Bermuda Chamber of Commerce applauds the Government’s achievement of presenting a balanced budget for the first time in nearly two decades and welcomes the decision not to impose new taxes on neither employers nor employees.  


The Chamber endorses a budget aimed at fostering economic growth but recognizes that inflationary pressures are unlikely to lead to lower tax bill for businesses due to rising costs of goods and the need for payroll adjustments to sustain living standards, which could further increase costs. 


Despite a global decline in inflation rates, the path forward remains touchy as evidenced in developed nations, signaling that prices will not fall but rather continue to increase at a modest rate. This implies that Bermuda will still face significant cost of living challenges, with the local inflation rate not fully capturing the difficulties many residents are experiencing. 


There was no announcement of targeted tax relief, as outlined in the pre-budget report, which would have provided an opportunity to reduce some of the cost-of-living challenges.  Instead, plans for potential relief that would impact both individuals and employers were mentioned as a benefit of the implementation of the Corporate Income Tax.  


We support the notion of putting the excess borrowing fund to work by providing a tangible benefit to the community and await the multiyear strategy to target health care costs and outcomes, as the plan to deploy $30 million to health care costs is a one-year initiative. 


The Chamber also acknowledges the increase in grants for purchasing residential homes and support for organisations aiding seniors and the disabled. The hiring of a Land Title & Registry Officer to expedite land registrations, lagging by 12 to 18 months, is another positive step. 


The introduction of a digital fare payment system for public transportation is praised for its ability to enhance both resident and tourist experiences. It is also positive to see that jobs have continued to grow post-COVID. However, this growth has been fueled by the international business sector, and the local business sector continues to find its foothold in the new environment. The reported jobs filled of 32,849 is still shy of the 2019 employment levels, which shows some of these challenges. 


Affordable housing was rightfully a key topic of the budget.  The number of residential units that are required to supplement the ongoing efforts to increase the residential population remains inadequate. A combination of 15 years of reduced new dwellings, coupled with an aging population, shrinking household sizes, and the growth of vacation rentals and new construction costs leaves a gap in the housing inventory that appears to be widening rather than shrinking. Future developments will require a close collaboration between developers, business and Government alike.   


The Chamber is pleased by the focus on infrastructure maintenance and is encouraged to see a focus on capital expenditure, particularly on the roads, over the upcoming year. 

The Government’s delivery of a balanced budget is a positive step ahead of the successful implementation of the Corporate Income Tax in 2025 and the impending Government debt maturity in January 2027. 


The CEO of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, Danielle Riviere, stated, “Overall the Chamber is optimistic about the no-new-tax budget but remains cognizant of the ongoing high costs of living and doing business. It is committed to collaborative efforts with its members, the Government, and other stakeholders to ensure Bermuda’s economy maintains a sustainable fiscal path.” 

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