‘Tax cuts without strings attached’
Vice presidential bet Senator Francis Escudero on Sunday scored the government’s “tax-reforms-with-strings-attached” position on the need to update income tax brackets that have remained unchanged since 1997, and said that if the current administration failed to enact legislation to reduce income taxes during its term, Senator Grace Poe would prioritize this measure if elected into office.
“Senator Grace said in her declaration speech that no sector or region would be left behind, and that it is the government’s duty to exhaust any means possible to lighten the load of our people. She has also repeatedly stressed that lowering the income tax would be one of her priorities, and that is the essence of our call, Walang Maiiwan,” explained Escudero.
Poe stressed in September that for many Filipinos, “hard work is often not enough,” and that her aim was to lower taxes in the country as “we have one of the highest tax rates in the world.
“Everyone needs a helping hand. Shouldn’t this be the measure of a responsive government and society—how it uplifts everyone and leaves no one behind?”
This, Poe said, was why we she would push “for true reforms that will achieve inclusive growth, global competitiveness and transparent government.”
According to Escudero, while he appreciates that “the Administration, or the LP, or whoever Secretary Lacierda speaks for, has acknowledged the need for tax reform,” he stressed that the government “need not impose conditions before it can support measures to lower the income tax.”
Lacierda this week said that while there was “no debate” about the need for tax reform, the government wanted “comprehensive tax reform.” LP presidential bet Mar Roxas earlier slammed proposals to lower the income tax, and said the government would need to cut projects to allow the passage of such measures. Roxas also said that the issue should not be discussed during the elections as it was being politicized.
“Lowering the income tax is justifiable in and by itself, and should be acted on now, not later. May pagkakataon ngayon para itama ang mali, para tulungan ang mga nangangailangan—bakit pa nila ipagkakait sa tao? Kaya paulit-ulit naming sinasabi na kailangan talaga natin ng Gobyernong may Puso.” (There is an opportunity now to right a wrong and help those in need—why should they deny our people that? That is why we repeatedly say we really need a government with a heart.)
Escudero added that members of the LP “can say over and over again that they favor tax reform, but these are hollow sentiments that are belied by statements by admin allies who say that there is not enough time to pass such measures. All this talk about support for tax reform is just lip service on their part; their words will not put money in the pockets of our overtaxed citizens.”
Poe and Escudero have anchored their 20-point platform on the calls for a “Gobyernong may Puso” and “Walang Maiiwan,” highlighting the need for inclusive growth and an empathic government that would work to ensure that the concerns of all sectors, especially the poor, would be addressed.