SF budget plan 'a fair tax' document, says Adams
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has defended his party’s alternative budget plan as “a fair-tax” rather than a “high-tax” document.
Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said the series of austerity budgets had “devastated the standard of living and indeed the very ability to cope of so many families”.
The party’s proposals, released yesterday and entitled “Making the Right Choices”, include increased taxation on higher earners and cuts in the pay of senior civil servants and members of the Dáil and Seanad, along with a five cent cut in the cost of petrol and diesel per litre and a social welfare amnesty.
Party finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said Sinn Féin agreed that a €3.5 billion adjustment could be made next year. “We propose a third rate of tax at 48 per cent on income in excess of €100,000. We propose a 1 per cent wealth tax on net wealth in excess of €1 million, excluding business assets, working farms, pension pots and 20 per cent of the family home.
“We propose increases in Capital Gains Tax and Capital Acquisitions Tax, with a reduction in the Cat threshold.”
He said the party proposed targeting tax evasion and maintaining all discretionary tax reliefs but would standardise all of them, bar the one in relation to charities.
Mr Doherty added that the party would introduce a new consumer tax on gambling. It also proposed a third rate of PRSI of 15.75 per cent for employers on income paid in excess of €100,000 and it would reduce the pensions-related earning cap.
“Our savings include charging the full cost of private care in public hospitals . . . We propose phasing out the public subsidy of private schools over a five-year period. We want a social welfare amnesty introduced. We want to see an emergency pay cap of €100,000 across the civil and public sector for three years.
“We propose capping hospital consultants’ pay at €150,000, again for three years . . . we propose reducing all Dáil and Seanad elected representatives’ pay,” said Mr Doherty.
Asked if there was any contradiction between Sinn Féin’s seeking to cut Oireachtas pay when its Fermanagh-South Tyrone MP, Michelle Gildernew, was seeking damages for a broken leg sustained on a visit to Leinster House last January, Mr Adams said: “Michelle Gildernew was injured. We believe in health and safety. It was her personal decision, we support that decision . . . it could happen to any of us.”
Mr Doherty said Sinn Féin also wanted to take 296,000 low-income workers out of the universal social charge net, which would mean an extra €10 a week in the pocket of someone earning €17,000 a year. The party also proposes to lift the recruitment embargo and hire 3,500 essential frontline staff.
Watch video analysis of Sinn Féin’s budget proposals at irishtimes.com