Premier David Burt told MPs on Friday that Bermuda’s deficit has been cut by 24 percent, Government revenues are on the rise along with employment.
In follow up to the $29.9 million deficit incurred during the first three months of 2018-19, the figure is down when compared with the $39.4 million recorded in the same period last year.
In a Ministerial Statement delivered on the floor of the Lower House , Premier Burt said: “The facts totally disprove this tired narrative from the Opposition” that the Government was becoming a “tax and spend” administration.
To the contrary, he said spending was down despite the lifting of the hiring freeze in Government and a “well deserved: raise for some civil servants in the public sector.
“To hear the Opposition tell it, this Government has no handle on the public purse and every new initiative is cast as overspending or not thought through,” said Mr Burt.
“In fact, in regrettably under-informed comments reported on July 27th, the Chairman of the One Bermuda Alliance said: ‘It seems Government is desperate for revenue as it is not meeting its own revenue expectations.’
“This was closely followed by the Leader of the Opposition who termed this Government as: ‘quickly becoming a tax and spend Government’. And not to be outdone, the Honourable Member for Constituency 10, the former premier, referring to economic statistics said they were: ‘showing the potential slowdown or even retraction of the economy’.
“I can advise Honourable Members and the public that the facts totally disprove this tired narrative from the Opposition,” he said.
Other highlights from first quarter figures included:
• revenues collected were $260.1 million, an increase of $5.7 million, or 2.2 per cent, compared with last year’s first quarter
• current account expenditures, excluding debt service, was $231.1 million, down $851,000, or 0.37 per cent, on last year
• employment has increased by 322, with 33,909 people now in work
• visitor air arrivals are up by 5.4 per cent, with hotel occupancy up by 4.8 percent