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Lenihan promises protection for the super-rich and cuts for the low-paid – Morgan

16 October, 2009


Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Arthur Morgan has described Finance Minister Brian Lenihan’s preview of the forthcoming Budget at the Dublin Chamber of Commerce as a promise to protect the wealthiest from paying their fair share while making low-paid workers and their families pay most for the recession by cutting the supports and services on which they rely.

Deputy Morgan said:

“Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has ruled out any income tax increases for the highest earners in the forthcoming Budget. To address the budget deficit he is going to rely totally on savage cutbacks across vital public services.

“It is absurd for Minister Lenihan to suggest that the wealthiest can pay no more and should not be required to do so. Income distribution is grossly distorted in this State so it is natural that higher earners pay collectively more tax – but they are still not paying their fair share. Far from it. There are still a host of reliefs and avoidance schemes that the super-rich employ very successfully to avoid paying tax.

“There is only one top percentage rate for income tax which means that someone on €37,000 per annum pays at the same percentage rate as someone on €1 million per annum. Top earners also own most of the State's wealth in assets and pay no tax on those assets.

“The introduction of a third income tax rate of 48% for earnings in excess of €100,000 would raise €355 million. Standardising all discretionary tax reliefs would raise €1.1 billion.

“These are but two examples of what could be done but instead Minister Lenihan promises protection for the super-rich from paying their fair share while making low-paid workers and their families pay most for the recession by cutting the supports and services on which they rely. Health, education and social welfare for the majority will be slashed while the highest earners will still benefit from private hospitals, private schools and untaxed private wealth.” ENDS

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