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Ireland: there is a better way

The Fianna Fail/Green coalition in Dublin, in spite of the most aggressive cuts programme in Europe, still has the effective support of Fine Gael and Labour, the main opposition parties.

Sinn Féin policy has three key components: First, is to shift the burden of taxation from the poor to a rich in a series of measures including higher income and wealth taxes for higher earners and the rich. Secondly, reform of the tax system in what the party calls a ‘financial stimulus’ to redistribute incomes towards the poor and low-paid. But the largest component of the policy is a €7.5bn government investment package in infrastructure and other areas such as early childcare, which is estimated to create 160,000 jobs. This would go some way to addressing the collapse in investment which more than accounts for the Irish recession.

Their plan is to cut the deficit by over €4.5 billion and invest in a €2 billion jobs stimulus in 2011 while protecting frontline public services and those on low and middle incomes. Sinn Féin proposes a range of taxation measures aimed at high earners, the abolition of wastages in public spending and the transfer of €7 billion from the National Pension Reserve Fund for a 3.5 year state wide investment programme to stimulate the economy and create jobs. The document, entitled ‘There is a better way’, is fully costed and endorsed by independent economists.

Launching his party’s pre-budget submission in Dublin today, Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD  said:

Included in Sinn Féin’s revenue raising proposals is a new 48% tax on incomes in excess of €100,000 raising €410 million, the standardising of all discretionary tax reliefs at the lower rate raising €1.1 billion, an income linked wealth tax of 1% on all assets worth more than €1 million excluding working farmland raising €1 billion and increases in Capital Gains Tax, Capital Acquisitions Tax and DIRT.

We are also calling for the abolition of a number of tax exemptions including mortgage interest relief for landlords, property tax reliefs and income tax and PRSI exemptions for share options. We propose to cap Ministerial salaries at €100,000, TDs at €75,000 and Senators at €60,000. Similarly we call for a cap on the maximum salary in the public service at €100,000. All of our revenue raising proposals are aimed at those in our society who can afford to pay more and if implemented they would raise €5.266 million.

With this Sinn Féin would put €595 million into a financial stimulus plan and use the remaining €4.671 billion to reduce the deficit. We would then take €7 billion from the National Pension Reserve Fund for a three and a half year state wide investment programme to stimulate the economy and create jobs, €2 billion to be spent on shovel ready projects in 2011.

We would then reduce the remainder of the deficit through increased economic growth generated as a result of our economic stimulus plan. We are confident that the deficit can be reduced to the stability and growth pact level by 2016 in a progressive manner while growing the economy.”

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