In presenting the 2023/24 budget statement, Premier and Minister of Finance, David Burt announced “a determination to defy the odds” with a view toward growth amidst global socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic, foreign conflicts, and inflation.
The Premier cited the international business sector, in particular, as a catalyst for growth and the bedrock of the Bermuda economy. Considerable changes to payroll taxes were announced along with a plan to advance critical infrastructure projects by addressing “present challenges while also laying the foundations for a better future.” Payroll tax rate increases were less than shown in the pre-budget report and new proposals such as a Managed Services Tax were absent from the budget. While key 2022/23 revenue indicators are generally positive to previous estimates, increases in expenditures result in a slightly higher deficit compared to original estimates.
The Premier again noted Bermuda’s plan to balance the Government’s books by 2024/25 consistent with last year’s budget statement. Although the continued growth of international business was highlighted, the Premier made reference to potential changes from the OECD Global Minimum Tax in the future which could impact this sector. A mixed-use site at Morgan’s Point was proposed with residential apartments and commercial retail and restaurant opportunities along with a 2024 completion target for the Fairmont Southampton. Expansion of banking services was noted with reference to Narrow Purpose Banks which would be permitted to service higher risk sectors such as gaming.
Lastly, the Premier stated Bermuda must evolve to a mid-shore jurisdiction in light of OECD Global Minimum Tax proposals and be more attractive for global talent looking to relocate to assist in powering the island’s economic growth into the future.