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NEWS UPDATES 26 July 2010

Philippine legislators against new taxes

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Lawmakers on Sunday opposed the imposition of any new tax measure, saying it would only worsen the government’s huge budget deficit. “New tax measures would only burden the people and create domino effect on the eco-nomy,” Rep. Walden Bello said in a statement, reported by the Manila Times.

”What we need is tax enforcement because we have enough tax laws to raise the money to plug the budget deficit,” Bello added.

Bello, along with Representatives Ben Evardone, Winston Castelo and Teodoro Casi?o, supported President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s call for an intensified effort on tax collection.

President Aquino had said he was against the imposition of new tax laws as a solution to the government’s ballooning budget deficit.

Representative Casi?o said President Aquino, who is set to deliver his first state of the nation address on Monday, should make good his promise of not imposing new tax laws.

”Tax collection should focus on big corporations and big income earners and reducing taxes on utilities,” Casi?o said in the same statement.

Bello said the other solution to address the government’s huge budget deficit is debt moratorium. “The huge amount we pay for our foreign debt should be utilized instead for social services,” he said.

Rep. Evardone of Eastern Samar said he would oppose any proposal imposing new tax measure in Congress “that will hurt the poor people and the underprivileged.”

For his part, Rep. Castelo of second district of Quezon City said there are other means to arrest the budget deficit without passing the burden of taxes to the people.

“We should instead go after big tax evaders and grafters at the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs,” Castelo added.

Castelo said tax credits given to government owned and controlled corporations, special economic zones and special business interest groups should be slashed. “The savings could be shifted to more important priority projects of the government,” he said.

Earlier, allies of former President, now Rep. Gloria Arroyo, urged President Aquino to implement new tax measures to plug the budget deficit.

Mrs. Arroyo’s allies cited a previous proposal to rationalize tax rates on the so-called sin taxes on cigarettes and liquors.

Bello, however, said Mrs. Arroyo and her allies should be the last ones to talk about raising new taxes. “They should shut up because they would just get themselves into more trouble,” he said.

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