Labour Minister Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull has questioned the lack of scrutiny on local banks in the face of a money transfer tax on money service institutions such as Western Union and MoneyGram.
The Second District Representative recalled the time the tax legislation was being placed on residents and pointed out that he was against the law at the time.
“I didn’t agree with it because, from what I understood and what I believed in my [heart], that money was already taxed,” Turnbull said.
“I said then that we are looking at putting additional taxes on the backs of the people and these are the people who are in the working class, who are carrying our economy, who are helping to provide for their families,” Turnbull stated.
Turnbull said he was lobbying with others to reverse the legislation, but argued that he was unsuccessful.
In the end, he said negotiations among legislators were able to realise a reduction from seven per cent to 3.5 per cent for the money services tax.
“I asked the question then, ‘why are we not looking at the banks?, because when you talk about money transfers, we have never been able to have the courage — I will use that word — to approach these banking institutions who transfer [monies],” the legislator said.
He continued: “We look at money services and the institutions of Western Union and MoneyGram and some of the other ones to the Dominican Republic and we look at them and we talk about these millions of dollars and $6 million here and $5 million there, but when you look at the banks and the money that they wire and transfer on a daily basis, the monies through these agencies that I just mentioned a while ago is peanuts but we’re not addressing them.”
Turnbull argued that lawmakers need to have these tough conversations and said while it is their right to protect the investments of the people, it is also their right to ensure that when they are doing such initiatives, it is done across the board.
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