02 APRIL 2003

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AD takes Alfred Sant to task

By Julian Manduca
Alternattiva Demokratika, the Green Party, has taken Alfred Sant to task over the Labour Party’s proposal to introduce tax cuts and bonuses in the first few months of a Labour government.
AD said the Labour Party in government will not make ends meet if elected and called for changes to Malta’s tax regime during the past few days. AD believes the emphasis should change from tax on income to taxes on products that are damaging to health and the environment.
AD spokesperson for Economic Affairs Noel Agius said, "Dr Alfred Sant wants to deny Malta from Lm81 million net incoming funds from the EU and is effectively proposing to further reduce government revenue by proposals such as the two-month tax exemption promise.
"Yet at the same time he is promising everything to everyone. For example he is promising to construct roads, to upgrade Malta's infrastructure, to solve Malta's environmental problems and to close Maghtab."
"Dr Sant contradicts himself when he says that he will spend more than Lm 25 million on tax cuts and bonuses and still reduce Malta’s deficit. Given that Malta faces deficit problems and that the bulk of government expenditure is on wages and social benefits, it is clear that Sant's proposals simply do not add up.
"At best, Sant's proposal may have minimal benefits in the short term via a very small consumer boom. But the big picture, productive export led investment, which is so dependent on infrastructure would be in jeopardy as there will be less funds for improvement projects. Also such tax breaks would mean less money for essentials like education and health care.
"Sustainable fiscal policy seeks to redirect the emphasis of taxation, and not put forward opportunistic proposals such as Dr Sant's. In this regard Alternattiva Demokratika is proposing that the tax burden on income and the economic initiative of the Maltese and Gozitan people should be lightened, but the tax burden should be shifted on activities harming the environment and wasting our limited resources. Furthermore, efforts to control tax evasion should be strengthened," Noel Agius concluded.

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Editor: Saviour Balzan
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