Sinn Féin alternative budget makes €3.5 billion adjustment through fair taxes and savings – Pearse Doherty
A €3.5 billion adjustment can be made next year through fair taxes and savings, according to Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty. The Donegal TD was speaking at the launch of his party’s alternative budget ‘Making the right choices.’ Outlining a number of the party’s measures, Doherty said that the government had choices before it which could either push struggling families over the edge while protecting the wealthiest in society, or ensure a larger contribution from the wealthiest while the most vulnerable sectors are protected.
Deputy Doherty said:
“Budgets are about choices. Do you introduce a property tax that calls on struggling households to pay more or do you introduce a wealth tax that asks the most well off to pay more? Do you cut Child Benefit or do you cut politicians’ and high paid civil servants’ wages? Do you protect tax reliefs for those who can afford to avail of them or do you reduce the cost of petrol and diesel for everyone? These are the choices the government has before it. For my party the choices are obvious.
“Sinn Féin agrees that a €3.5 billion adjustment can be made next year. In ‘Making the right choices’ we set out proposals for that deficit adjustment and for new expenditure measures, paid for by net new taxes of €2.758 billion and public spending savings of €1.044 billion. We include the tax carry-over of €220 million and our expenditure measures amount to €338.68 million.
“On the tax side, we have concentrated on sections of society which we believe can afford to pay more. So we introduce a third rate of tax of 48% on income in excess of €100,000. We propose a 1% wealth tax on net wealth in excess of €1 million, excluding business assets, working farms, pension pots and 20% of the family home. We propose increases in CGT and CAT, with a reduction in the CAT threshold. We propose targeting tax evasion. We maintain all discretionary tax reliefs but standardise them. We introduce consumer tax on gambling. We propose a new third rate of PRSI of 15.75% for employers on income paid over €100,000 and we reduce the pensions related earning cap. The full list of proposals is set out in the document and each of them is explained through case studies and examples.
“Our savings include charging the full cost of private care in public hospitals and increasing the use of generic drugs. We propose phasing out the public subsidy of private schools. We want a social welfare amnesty introduced. We want to see an emergency pay cap of €100,000 across the civil and public sector for three years, at which point we would review the cap while bringing fairness to the remuneration paid to the lowest and highest ranking civil and public servants. We propose capping hospital consultant pay at €150,000, again for three years. We also want to see politicians leading from the front, so we propose reducing all Dáil and Seanad elected representatives’ pay, scrapping allowances for chairs, abolishing the ‘super junior minister’ payment, capping ministers’ special advisors’ pay, reducing government jet spend and scrapping Oireachtas members’ mobile phone set allowances. Again the full list is within the document and the proposals are explained in detail.
“In addition to a section on protecting children’s rights, we also include new expenditure to lift the recruitment embargo to hire 3,500 essential frontline staff; to resintate the almost one million home help hours cut; to restore the training and material allowance for CE schemes and to reduce the fee for non-doctor-referred A&E visits.
“A priority for us is to make life easier for struggling families. We include proposals to reduce excise duty on fuel and diesel by 5 cent, which will have a hugely positive effect on families, particularly in rural Ireland. We take 296,000 low income workers out of the USC, which will mean an extra €10 a week in the pocket of someone earning €17,000 a year, or approximately €500 per year. We make allowances for these on the tax side of our document, where we also include an adjustment to allow for any loss after capping civil and public servants at €100,000
“Sinn Féin has always said this crisis can be fixed by tackling unemployment and the lack of growth, by overhauling the banks and ending the tax payer subsidy and by cutting the deficit with fair, growth friendly measures. These are our choices and the government still has time to choose them too.” ENDS