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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Fred Clarke, St Helier's greatest ever Constable

Constable Clarke opens a fair 

As part of looking back to see where the States of Jersey have gone wrong, it is probably beneficial to look back to the times when the States of Jersey got it very right.

Fred Clarke served Jersey and the parish of St Helier for three terms as Constable of St Helier, now apart from the one little problem where a Centenier Pearce was unfairly dismissed  from office in order to cover up the maladministration of the then Attorney General, one Philip Martin Bailhache, later Bailiff and currently Senator, he excelled in the role, and all the while unpaid.

His operation of the parish finances was remarkably similar to the operation of his company C. Le Masurier, he never spent a penny on anything that he didn't have to.

So successful was Constable Clarke in running the parish that the finances remain in reasonably good health in spite of the spiralling bureaucracy which has been created by later Constables Le Brocq and Crowcroft. There was none of Constable Crowcroft's stealth taxation through parking tickets or selling the right to park on public land to the public, I never quite worked out how people didn't see through that little confidence trick. No it was plain and simple - the government should only spend other people's money where it is absolutely necessary.

When the States was filled with successful businessmen, businessmen let's face it who did very well by building a successful economy within the Island, the whole Island prospered. Now the Island is run by petty bureaucrats who depend on the wages they receive and are always looking to improve their lot, at the expense of the people of Jersey.

My attempts to get an answer to what the effective rate of tax in Jersey is, have met with, 'I'm sorry we cannot work that out'.

However the formula is simple, particularly for someone with a doctorate in Mathematics, simply add all the monies received by the States of Jersey in all shapes and forms by every department less all the income received from corporation tax and divide that by the total income disclosed in income tax returns less the income tax returns by companies. Multiply the answer by 100 and voila you will have the mean rate of taxation.

Then apply the distribution curve for the income of families from the statistics already produced and you will be able to infer the effective rate for families in the upper, lower and median quartiles.

So if the mean rate of effective taxation for an average family is calculated to be say 50% then the effective rate in the upper quartile is likely to be around 10% and the effective rate for families in the lower quartile is likely to be in the region of 70%. We know the effective rate for families in the lower quartile in the UK is 73%.

You may ask why the government does not simply levy income tax at 70%, well that is because we would not re-elect them if we knew how much of our time we spent working for the government, we would all be on benefits.

Whatever the result is we should compare it to the effective rate at the time when Constable Clarke and his ilk ran the island, when effective rates of taxation were around 25%.

What built Jersey is what will save any of the indebted nations now; an immediate reduction in the amount of money spent and a reduction in the levels of taxation in all forms.