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(Jamaica Observer) The Government yesterday announced reductions of 0.5 to 0.9 per cent in property tax rates, responding to public pressure that mushroomed after it announced the new rates several weeks ago.

However, the cuts, from the previously proposed rates of 0.8 to 1.3 per cent, will leave the Administration with a $2.1 billion hole to fill.

Amidst shouts of “Roll it back!” from Opposition legislators during a rowdy sitting of the House of Representatives, Finance Minister Audley Shaw said the adjustment was a “big reduction” from the tax rates announced recently, and that the revised measure is expected to yield $6.5 billion in revenue to help fill the $13.5-billion hole in the national budget, instead of the $8.5 billion that was first projected from the previously announced rates. He gave no indication as to how the new $2.1-billion gap will be made up.

The finance minister said the new tax rate would either reduce or cause no change to the property tax rates of 448,860 of the 776,487 properties on roll. “This is a big increase from the 35.1 per cent who would have benefited based on the previously announced rates,” Shaw said.

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