The final major debate in Congress has ended in classic Argentine political panache after the opposition recently passed a project against the Macri administration over income tax. The reform, approved by 140 votes in favor, 86 against, will if passed by the Senate, introduce various changes to income tax, with key aims to tax the gambling industry , financial profit and a reinstatement of the 5 percent tax on the minding industry. The planned allocation of funds reaching AR $65 billion a year instead of the government’s projected AR $32 billion annual cost.
Should the project become law after being assessed by the senate next week then one million workers would stop paying income tax.The initiative proposes setting non-taxable minimum at 33,500 pesos for single workers and 44,000 for married workers with two children. You can read all the planned changes here.
Both the opposition and the government have been quick to voice their contrasting opinions over the issue:
“The irresponsibility that we saw yesterday is not the way, they must be responsible for public spending and working together, without enacting demagogy,” President Mauricio Macri said in response to the result.
Current government officials highlighted the lack of action by the previous administration, “they were all together, all serving the previous government in the last years, those who were officials of Cristina, who never did anything to change the income tax” said Cabinet Chief, Marcos Peña at a press conference. When questioned by Infobae he also expressed his faith for the Senate who have “a more rational position”.
Key individual opposition parties such as the Renewal Front (FR) have caused quite the uproar amongst government officials, leader of the FR Sergio Messa was called “the least trustworthy person in the Argentine political system” by Peña. Macri also weighed in on this issue, “luckily the Renewal Front has no senators and that’s a break” he said.
Minister of finance, Alfonso Prat-Gay fired criticism at the opposition, questioning their motives for wanting to introduce such a costly reform, ”I’d like to understand where they think they’re going to get those funds at a time when the fiscal deficit is a concern of finance sector and the President, who want to see the amount lowered,” said Prat-Gay also expressing the concern which was voiced by several governors over the issue.
However, the opposition has stood strong over their standpoint on the issue, “All year we have demonstrated an enormous responsibility and voluntarily helped the government, but over this subject the government doesn’t want any way to facilitate or sustain a negotiation” said Massa.
The amount of tax imposed on workers was questioned by the opposition, “Today they don’t tax the richest sectors but when the workers come they say ‘there’s not enough money” said Axel Kiciloff of the Front for Victory (FPV).
Diego Bossio of opposition party the Justicialist Party (PJ) has also also voiced a warning for the government to reassess their position over the issue:
El Gobierno debe tomar las críticas como alertas para que se modifiquen a tiempo políticas que van al fracaso. #AcuerdoPorLosTrabajadores
— Diego Bossio (@diegobossio) December 7, 2016
“The government should see the criticism as warning bells to modify policies that are going to fail”
- Read more: Political Defeat For The Government: Opposition Comes Together, Passes Its Own Income Tax Reform Bill