Renua Ireland leader John Leahy has warned the Finance Minister and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that the people who get up to go to work early in the morning deserve; ‘‘real tax reforms rather than placebos’’.
Speaking on the eve of Budget 2018 Mr Leahy said:
“It may be a controversial phrase but this is surely pay-back time for those middle income tax-payers who carried the country through the recession and back to safety.
“The over-arching philosophy of RENUA Ireland is that the taxation base should be broad and the marginal rate should be as low as is prudently possible.
“This informs our view that it is time to reduce the unacceptably high tax burden on workers who pay tax.Given the scale of increases on tax during the recession this would represent an act of social justice.
“Since 2006 the amount of income tax Irish workers pay has risen from €12.4 billion and 27.2% of the tax-take to €20.2 billion in income tax, which accounts for around 40% of the total tax take.
“Irish workers are essentially still paying reparations for the errors of the banks.
“This social wrong crushing the lives of the people who get up early to go to work has to stop.
“The government must in this regard make a great leap forward and remove people on average earnings from the higher tax net.
“It is time to give money back to middle income workers. This segment of the population is still under significant pressure and this needs to be relieved. Many, disgracefully, including members of our defence forces, are reliant on Family Income Supplement to survive.
Renua’s main tax and spending priorities are as follows:
- Social justice demands that we lift the point at which a worker enters the 40% tax band from €33,800 to €43,800 within 5 years. If circumstances allow, this could happen more quickly.
- Budget 2018 should lift the threshold by €2,000.
- This would have a full-year cost of €402 million.
- The USC was initially introduced to broaden the tax base and ensure that as many people as possible contribute to the Exchequer.
- At the moment, 769,800 income earners pay neither Income Tax nor USC.
- USC rates should be left unchanged and no more workers should be removed.
- The self-employed in Ireland pay more tax, they pay it sooner and they receive less social supports if their business fails.
- Equity requires that the earned income credit be increased from €950 to €1,650.
- This would send a very clear message about the value of the SME sector at a minimalist cost of €58 million.
- “Those who stay in the home caring for children perform a very important role in society. This role is generally not recognised or appreciated.
- “The home carers’ tax credit should be increased by €550, which would bring it up to the single person’s tax credit. This is a key first step to achieving ‘Family Fair Taxation’ at a modest cost of €44 million.
- “Any tax cuts should involve a serious level of investment in the right of people to keep their earned income. A fiver a week is not real tax reform. It is nothing more than a political placebo and will be rejected by the people’’.