Ireland: Tax cuts budget priority for Government
03 March 2014
Posted by: Author: Stephen Collins
Author: Stephen Collins (Irish Times)
Burden on ordinary families too great.
A cut in income tax was again highlighted as a Government priority by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan.
Mr Kenny also focused on the tax burden for ordinary families in his keynote speech to the ardfheis on Saturday night.
He said more than 90 per cent of the necessary tax measures and spending cuts to bring the public finances under control have already been implemented, but the job would have to be completed.
"I know that these measures have imposed burdens on the finances of families. That’s why we will continue to deliver on our promise not to increase income tax, and, when the public finances allow, our priority will be to reduce the tax burden on families with average incomes, too many of whom are paying the high rate of tax,” he said.
Earlier in the day Mr Noonan told delegates taxes were much too high and he was determined to bring them down. And he promised targeted tax reductions would be enforced in the budget in October.
"As a Government, we know that there are further opportunities in the years ahead for us to build upon the initiatives that have worked."
"In my role as Minister for Finance, I will consider the introduction of targeted tax reductions that have a demonstrable effect on employment growth."
"These would follow the success of the reductions in taxes in the Jobs Initiative, the 10-point plan for SMEs, and the last budget’s €500 million tax package for Jobs.”
In an interview on RTÉ Radio yesterday, Mr Noonan repeated his views that Irish workers on modest incomes were hitting the top tax rate too quickly.
He said a single PAYE worker moved into the top rate of tax on an income of just €32,800 and this was something he would be looking at when it comes to the next budget.
Minister of State at the Department of Finance Brian Hayes, who is the Fine Gael candidate for Dublin in the European elections, said the Government needed to "stop taxing the hell out of people”.
He added that workers needed to be given a break and said the only way to get the country back to growth was to slash levies.
Mr Hayes said the best stimulus to the country was to put money back in people’s pockets by targeted tax reductions.
Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton ruled out wage hikes. "Recovery is fragile. The gains made could be easily lost. This is not a time to lose focus or to take our foot off the pedal. We cannot start hiking up prices as soon as consumer confidence returns. It is not a time for wage increases,” he said.
This article first appeared on irishtimes.com.