In a release last month, the United Democratic Party, expressed its disappointment and strongly condemned what it describes as the callous decision of Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner to discontinue the property tax discount program. The UDP says that this program provides a standard 25 percent discount to senior citizens living in Belize City. They say that from a practical standpoint such a move is effectively a tax increase on the elderly. Here is how Mayor Wagner responded.
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “The senior citizens will continue to receive discounts. We didn’t say that- senior citizens will continue to enjoy discounts but bear in mind that out of that $800,000 that we identified approximately 10%-11% of that is through the senior citizens program so why would we want to bring on stress on our senior citizens that is not what we are here for. We want to ensure that the senior citizens continue to enjoy that discount. The discount as we see it a portion of it was targeted essentially for people who can afford it and it was a way where the council used this tool to bring in cash at the expense of the City, you are essentially borrowing from the city residents which is untenable and which is unsustainable. We want to ensure that any sort of program impacts the lives of the elderly and impacts the lives of those who are at the poverty level.”