Fine Gael doubling down on hollowing out public finances - Pearse Doherty TD
Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has today said Fine Gael are wilfully ignoring warnings about their handling of the public finances.
The Donegal TD was speaking following an exchange in the Dáil today in which Minister Paschal Donohoe once again confirmed his intention to introduce a tax cut costing the state around €3bn in the years ahead.
Teachta Doherty said:
“2019 has been a very embarrassing year for Fine Gael and their reputation as a party capable of managing the public finances.
“This reputation took another hit today as Minister Donohoe once again pledged to hollow out the public finances with another tax cut election pledge which ignores the cost of living pressures for almost 80% of taxpayers.
“Amazingly, this comes just a week after the government’s fiscal watchdog hit out at the government’s inability to reduce overreliance on corporate tax receipts.
“The Minister isn’t stupid – he clearly understands IFAC’s warnings about his handling of the public finances.
“However, today is confirmation that he has decided to ignore them and instead plough ahead with a tax pledge that does nothing for four out of five taxpayers.
“This was originally a pledge made by Leo Varadkar at his party’s Ard Fheis, who succeeded in giving us all flashbacks to the Bertie Ahern stunt politics that defined the worst days Fianna Fáil’s boom-bust economic record.
“It would cost the state some €3bn. That’s €3bn diverted from higher education, housing, childcare, or from investing in the just transition to a low-carbon economy.
“Indeed, to even make the policy possible it will require raising the upper joint income tax threshold by an average of €6,000 per year in each of the next five years.
“The sheer scale and scope of this pledge points to a Fine Gael vision for the public finances which isn’t remotely credible.
“It also shows that in order to afford a tax cut for some, Fine Gael are prepared to let the cost of living continue to spiral for everyone else.
“The people of Ireland need a break, and Sinn Féin pledge to introduce a living wage and prioritise investment in services that will bring down the cost of living which is making day-to-day life here completely unaffordable.
“Our public finances are not the election and PR tools of Fine Gael party strategists.
“We need to broaden the tax base and prioritise spending in areas that will prepare us for a down turn – in affordable childcare to allow more people to enter into work, in further and higher education to address the skills gap, and in the opportunities presented by the climate transition.
“Minister Donohoe’s repeated commitment today shows that Fine Gael continue to remain tone deaf to Sinn Féin’s, and others, warnings on the economy.”