La Trinidad suffers decline in payment of business taxes

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The municipal government admitted it will not be able to collect the projected internally generated resources because of the non-operation of businesses and economic activities from the implementation of the Luzonwide lockdown to the present.

Mayor Romeo K. Salda claimed the municipal government will not be able to collect the projected target collection from business taxes because of the prevailing economic slump caused by the implementation of the lockdown to combat the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) thus the municipality to adopt austerity measures to prevent a budget deficit in the future.

He claimed that even for the current year, there had been a significant decline in the number of businesses that had been paying their taxes for the past two quarters that is why it will be unlikely that the municipal government will meet its projected tax collection until the end of the year.

Further, Mayor Salda disclosed that the existing resources of the municipal government had also been drained because of the ongoing COVID response measures that led the realignment of unused funds from current and previous appropriations.

The municipal chief executive stipulated that the failure of the municipal government to collect sufficient taxes caused the finance officers to recommend for the significant reduction on the town’s budget for next year to avoid a budget deficit in case the slump will extend up to next year.

According to him, the proposed budget of the municipal government next year is P484 million which is much lower than the over P500 million budget of the municipality for the current year.

He underscored the municipal government is trying to help revive the local economy by easing up on the prevailing community quarantine guidelines to allow for people to have gainful employment.

While it is true that many businesses had started operating in the different parts of the municipality, the municipal mayor emphasized it is noticeable that the said businesses do not have that many clients unlike during the early part of the year where there had been an influx of people to transact businesses with the establishments in the town.

The mayor explained the municipal government extended minimal assistance to the heavily impacted sectors with the hope that the same will be able to help them recover from the impact of the community quarantine to the employment of the people and their sources of livelihood so that things will start to normalize by the end of the year to allow the local economy to recover and provide gainful jobs and sources of livelihood to the people in the future.

La Trinidad is the center of trade and commerce aside from being the capital town of Benguet where people from all the municipalities, including those from nearby provinces in the Ilocos, Cordillera and Cagayan Valley regions, converge to transact businesses with the various private and public offices that are in the locality.

Salda remains optimistic that there will be a sudden surge in the economic activities in the municipality once the existing community quarantine guidelines will be further relaxed by the end of the year so that the road to recovery will start. By HENT