Originally Posted By: 7 News Belize
Barrow's Gas Tax Coming into Effect

Tomorrow TODAY is April 1st - which is the first day of the new financial year which means it is day the new flat tax on fuel comes in to effect. That’s right, as we’ve been reporting, and as the Prime Minister announced in his budget speech – a new flat tax of a dollar per gallon is being implemented to help plug the $60 million gap in the budget. So the news tonight is that diesel, premium, and regular gas will all increase by a full dollar at midnight.

Originally Posted By: 7 News Belize
Gas Tax Will Plug $30 million Hole in Barrow's Budget

But it can’t lag for too long because the Prime Minister hopes the one dollar flat tax will collect $30 million in revenue. He committed in the budget speech that if world oil prices go up – the tax may be revised downward to keep the price of premium fuel around seven dollars a gallon. Here are his remarks from the budget presentation.

[March 6th 2009]
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
“We do not propose to introduce any new tax measures apart from an increase in the rate of import duty leviable on gasoline and diesel oil. This increase in the flat tax on petroleum is one of the tough decisions I spoke of earlier. So let us remember the history of it all. When the prices for our imported petroleum products were extremely high, government did not dither. It stepped into the breach and gave up an unprecedented amount of revenue in order to restrain the apparently unending upward spiral from completely wiping out Belizean consumers. We kept on reducing the RRD and ultimately removed it altogether, replacing it with an excessively low flat tax. The RRD removed at the time was approximately $2.30 per US gallon; and the revenue sacrifice the government made for the Belizean public amounted to 40 million dollars on annualized basis. Even after the imported oil prices fell sharply and I was being pressed to compensate by recouping some of the revenue loss, I refused. This government was determined to maintain the great boon to the Belizean people for as long as we possibly could.

Even now that we are forced to ask back for some of the abundance that we passed along, we are ensuring that this doesn’t happen until April. Thus there would have been as long a spell of incredibly low pump prices as we could possibly have managed. I also note that the increase we are proposing is only $1.00 per gallon on gasolines and diesel. This amounts to less than one half of the taxes that were removed over the last year. It will still keep diesel at below the $6.00 per gallon mark, and gasoline at below $7.00. Butane, on which there is no tax, will not be affected.”

As Keith noted in his story, the price for a gallon of premium fuel tomorrow will be $7.03.

Live and let live