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Petition Tag - subsidies
The future of Caribbean rum is under assault.
On January 1, 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law the bill averting the threatened "fiscal cliff" of higher taxes and spending cuts. Unfortunately the legislation included special gifts to a number of U.S. corporations.
Tuesday’s agreement included a provision extending a 1917 law that imposes a $13.50 tax on each gallon of rum produced in or imported into the United States. But the taxes paid by the rum distillers of Puerto Rico (PR) and the U. S. Virgin Islands (USVI) are returned to their benefit. Even taxes paid by other Caribbean distillers are rerouted to the USVI and Puerto Rico.
Worse yet Diageo (Captain Morgan) and Fortune Brands (Cruzan) have received huge special subsidies and incentives from the USVI totalling nearly $4 Billion dollars.
Diageo, based in Britain, will get a new plant built at taxpayer expense, exemption from all property and gross receipt taxes, a 90 percent reduction in corporate taxes, plus marketing support and production incentives totaling tens of millions a year.
These incentives are so rich they are double the cost of actually producing the rum.
Fortune Brands (Cruzan) was awarded $1 Billion dollars and will receive an assortment of tax-financed incentives, including $100 million for improvements to its distillery on the island and a wastewater treatment program. The agreement also ensures that the company will pay no more than 16 cents a gallon for molasses, the main ingredient of rum, now selling for more than $2 on the open market.
Big Winners: Bacardi, Diageo (Captain Morgan) and Fortune Brands (Cruzan).
Big Losers: All other Caribbean rums, especially distillers from the Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas who actually pay their taxes, and who receive no significant benefits.
Damage: Severe. According to Sir Ronald Sanders "The reduction of sales in the US market, and the EU due to this legislation will have an adverse effect on Caribbean CARICOM distillers financial capacity to survive, let alone continue to manufacture rum at a competitive price.
CARICOM (the Caribbean Community Common Market), speaking through its forum (CARIFORUM) speaks for 16 Caribbean members, plus 7 observer members and 3 French Departments. These include:
Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, Saint Lucia, St. Christopher and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago - all member states.
Observers include Anguilla, Aruba, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Netherlands Antilles.
The French Departments include French Guiana, Guadeloupe and Martinique.
Needless to say the CARIFORUM is furious. Their legal opinions indicate at least three violations of WTO (World Trade Organization) Rules by the self-serving actions of the USVI, Puerto Rico, and the United States. CARICOM is well represented and feels that pursuing recourse by the WTO is both winnable and essential.
All lovers of rum in American and abroad are seriously affected as well, as this legislation will great reduce the availability of fine Caribbean rums both by their absence and/or greatly increased prices. These subsidies are opposed by smaller American distillers as well. Keen observers of your local stores shelves will have already noted the takeover by Bacardi, Captain Morgan, and Cruzan.
The U.S. legislation and special subsidies have struck at the both the heart and history of rum, particularly those from the Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados and Guyana. This legislation is anti-competitive, anti-selection and anti-quality.
It must be reversed, now.
With greatest hope,
All true lovers of rum...
Currently, students from polytechnics and universities pay twice as much in bus fares compared to their peers in junior colleges (JCs) and Institutes of Technical Education (ITE), who are classified as post-secondary-level.
Polytechnic students, who in all technicalities are doing their post secondary studies, are considered tertiary education students. We end up paying adult fare! Our counterparts in junior colleges get to enjoy the subsidies while we are denied the subsidies.
"With the comparison of MRT concession pass between JCs and Polytechnics, JC student pay about $25 while Polytechnic student pay about $45 per month for the same service." Quoted from Edison Lim's Speech, titled : Student Rate For All Polytechnic Students.
Even as a soon to be polytechnic student, he/she would too have started paying adult fares even before entering a polytechnic. He/she is no longer given student subsidies, even though their age is clearly below that of an adult.
What is most absurd is that, when queried by MP for Nee Soon GRC about student concessions on trains and public buses, the Transport Minister Mr. Lui Tuck Yew, response was that it would cost transport operators $28 million more per year.
Can’t the government fork out the $28 million dollar per year, to provide subsidies for polytechnic students who are doing post-secondary studies? Isn’t the job of the government to provide for the welfare of its people? And would a $28 million pay cut from SMRT’s $895.1 million, or SBS’s $720 Million, affect them? I think not.
If it is assumed true that a man-made Global Warming phenomenon is potentially catastrophic then it makes no sense that the bulk of Energy subsidies go towards the use of fossil fuels for electricity generation when cleaner alternatives exist.
It would seem that either man-made Global Warming is a lie or the Governments of the world do not really wish to find a solution to it.
This petition assumes that man-made Global Warming is a reality with potentially catastrophic consequences if not fought against with immediacy and full intention.
My name is Anne L. Halverson. I am a 21-yr-old mother of a one-year-old son, Aidan. I take motherhood very seriously and I take my employment seriously. In order to be employed and provide the best childcare environment for my son, I rely on a state funded child care subsidy. That means, based on my income, I pay a percentage of my son's child care expenses and the State of Minnesota subsidizes rest.
My son thrives at his day care center, Noah's Ark, in Hopkins, MN. He is cared for by well trained providers who, like me, want him to meet his growth milestones, be happy and well adjusted, understand about sharing, learn about tolerance, and be prepared for kindergarten. My son and I also rely on state subsidized health care. His pediatric clinic monitors his growth, advises me about his medical needs and has helped me become a confident parent. I know how fortunate we are to live in a state that values children by providing these opportunities.
Minnesota's governor, Tim Pawlenty, has proposed a budget that will slash child-care and health care subsidies for single mothers like me and our children. Without the aid of these subsidies, I will be forced to quit my job, surrender my opportunities to advance in the workforce, stay home full time with my child and apply for welfare benefits.
If you believe in and support mothers with young children who want their children in safe, regulated childcare centers; women who are proud to be part of Minnesota's workforce, please sign this petition.
I will present this petition when I speak before a Minnesota Senate Committee that is convening on Tuesday, February 22, at the Minnesota State Capital.
Anne L. Halverson
Please forward this to your friends and family. Thanks.