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Tax report outdated – Government out of touch

2 September, 2009

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD said today that the government must consider taxation measures in the December budget but that the awaited Commission on Taxation report is already out of date.

Arthur Morgan said:

“If fair taxation measures had been introduced several years ago this state would not be in the mess it is now. With a huge deficit created by the most inept governance seen here in a long time, it is obvious that taxation raising measures will be needed in December’s budget to meet the state’s spending bill. At the moment, this government is talking up cuts to social welfare, education and health spending as the way to control the deficit

“Ultimately we need to stimulate the economy with new jobs to make sure we have enough revenue coming in to run the state, but until that point we must be pragmatic and make a choice – tax or cuts. There are some savings to be made certainly, for example the subsidies to private healthcare, but not enough to meet the deficit demand. There are many in our society who can afford to pay more tax, but there are few who can afford to see education, health and social welfare cut.

“In that regard, a report from the Commission on Taxation should be a welcome addition to the debate. However, the report being published is completely out of date. The Commission were sent off in 2008 with a set of terms that read like a Fianna Fáil wish list – for example, keeping the overall tax take low. To ensure that income tax can be kept low which, with the income levy, is now a myth anyway – the Commission is due to set out a range of household taxes which will disproportionately effect the less well off.

“The tax system must be structured in a way where those who have the most, pay the most, not in a way that spreads tax across the board with blunt instruments like flat water and property taxes. We also have to look at forms of taxation that Fianna Fáil have done their best to keep off the agenda for obvious reasons, like wealth taxes. The fact that the only trade union member on the board refused to sign the report, says it all.

“Sinn Féin will be submitting a range of measures in its pre-budget submission later this year to deal with the economic problems, but we will not include cuts to essential services. We will include sensible taxation measures which we have called for for years and which, if implemented earlier, would have protected us from the mess we’re in now.” ENDS

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