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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: February 26, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

    Read my Lips…

    Harry McGee

    Brian Lenihan has said at least twice already that there will be no tax increases (ie a mini budget) before the main Budget next winter.

    I have not had a chance to check the archive to see when and how often.

    But it looks to me, on the strength of his appearance at a Dail committee this morning, like he shaping up for a ’41 moment’.

    That’s President No 41 George HW Bush who said: Read My Lips, there will be no tax increases…

    Talking to the Oireachtas Finance Committee this morning, Brian Lenihan may very well have been saying what we all know already … the inevitable prospect there will be tax increases in the next Budget.

    But I suspect, given all the background muttering and venting from Government sources in the past couple of days, that the Minister for Finance may be forced to move earlier with dreaded tax increases.

    One point of information: we shouldn’t assume that tax increases means income tax and nothing else.

    • Ray D says:

      We have had tax increases already. The one, two, three % levy and the pension levy – for public servants only. The worst hit public servants – those Principal Officers and higher grades – have lost about one-seventh of their income already to swingeing tax increases. That is huge pain, and it will be shared by some others. But even further tax increases will be heaped on that, driving the economy into the ground with the accumulation of massive wage cuts.

      But what worries me most is the Government itself. It is wedded to power – purely for power’s sake and for the mercs and perks of power. Listen to the chief waffler Micheál Martin’s really scary interview yesterday where he would take no blame at all for the huge depression we are in. His Government and it alone created the position where national income is 37 billion and expenditure is over 60 billion. He also said that they would govern under the mandate given to them in the 2007 election. I don’t recall any such mandate for the measures that the Government are now operating. I look at FF’s policy programme for the last election and it is clear that it has now been torn up. There is no mandate but it is scary that FF will stick to power no matter what. I fear that revolutionary times are nigh and necessary to get rid of such arrogance.

    • Peter Barrins says:

      It’s a very simple equation – budget deficit will require an increase in income or a reduction in expediture, or both. The pension levies applied in the public service have not resulted in a 1/7 or 14% decrease in income – if what I’m reading is accurate. Irrespective, income tax levels in Ireland are far too low, given our population size and economic/industrial base. The fact that in a European context we have the highest percentage of workers outside of the ‘tax net’ is absurd. To maintain a high level of public services and infrastructure requires high income tax revenues in the absence of abundant, state owned, natural resources. Clearly, too, the expenditure side needs to be challenged and made as efficient as possible, so that tax revenues are not wasted as they have been. I read with disgust a truly arrogant letter from Charlie McCreevy to the Times on Friday last, berating Fintan O’Toole on a relatively irrelevant technicality and the Irish Times in general, for its biased coverage of issues pertaining to himself. It was McCreevy’s taxation policies that must now effectively be reversed. It was McCreevy who reduced income tax dramatically, who provided tax incentives to a booming construction and property sector and so on. His policies were like those of a cavalier lunatic, drunk with arrogance and power. It is hardly surprising that he is not really rated in Brussels. I would suggest he had been the worst Minister for Finance to date.

    • Marjorie says:

      Put a tax on property that is not owner occupied. And a capital gains tax on what profit they make
      when the sell to make a killing. So many rich barons in Ireland…and they get pensions too.
      Put a means test on pensions. Marg.

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