02 APRIL 2003

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Dalli – Labour’s tax-break is a gimmick

By Matthew Vella
Finance Minister John Dalli has hit out at Labour leader Alfred Sant’s vow to introduce a two-month tax holiday to all sectors of society, including bonuses to students, unemployed and pensioners.
Dalli has described Sant’s pre-election novelty "nothing but a show of desperation Dr Sant has found himself to be in, attempting to buy one’s vote without no sense of seriousness or balance.
"Alfred Sant is trying to buy power through the people’s money", Dalli said. The Finance Minister said the government had already reduced the tax burden greatly in the last two years, when finding the fiscal deficit had started being controlled. "Government added structural and permanent increases in the supplementary allowances to those who did not benefit from the tax reduction. This no one-off, as the Opposition Leader is proposing."
Government’s measures in these last two years resulted in a reduction of four months tax on an income of up to Lm5,000 and up to Lm6,000, and a reduction of three months tax on income between Lm7,000 and Lm10,000.
"This is a permanent decrease, not a two-month one-off. Moreover, this measure will results in a complete economic stagnation, which means wage freezes, pension decrease, removal of subsidies and reduction of overtime."
Dalli said the PN government’s European integration policy would be bringing to the country Lm81 million of funds in three years, greater investment, more work and better wages.
"Dr Sant’s economical proposals create uncertainty, less business and less profit for the self-employed, whilst Government’s proposals create certainty, stability, economic growth and more cash in hand."
Dalli also extended his criticism to Labour’s finance spokesperson, again saying Dr Leo Brincat’s arguments reflect the general mix-up of Labour’s 22 months in government.
Dalli said that in the last budget, the Government had reduced the tax burden permanently for those earning between Lm4,500 and Lm10,000 a year.
"This tax break is nothing but political opportunism and a gimmick. Leo Brincat is inventing figures, saying there are Lm400 million of uncollected taxes."

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Editor: Saviour Balzan
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