Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018

Italian consumer groups dress as prisoners to slam taxes


(ANSA) - Rome, September 19 - A small procession of
protestors dressed in striped prisoners' garb, bound by
hand-cuffs, balls and chains marched in front of the parliament
building in Rome Wednesday.
Driving the group was a man dressed as Premier Mario Monti,
armed with a whip, to represent the State as a chain-gang guard
keeping Italian consumers in bondage of taxes.
The protest was staged by Italy's main consumer
organizations for "National Day Against the High Cost of Living"
to denounce the interim government's economic reforms, aimed
mainly so far at beating down bond interest rates and a huge
public debt.
Added taxes inspired the name of the demonstration: "2012:
Escape from Alcatax", a play on the film Escape From Alcatraz.
The consortium of a dozen consumer groups brought Wednesday
a series of requests to the government, asking to reduce the
general tax burden, to introduce a patrimony tax for the rich,
to deregulate store sales to run any time of year, and to
abolish of excise taxes predating 2002.
The consumer groups would also like to see regulators armed
with higher sanctions, a freeze on energy prices, rent controls,
and a revision of renewable energy incentives.
The list of policy points could not be presented, however,
because a meeting between a consumer union leader and the
premier was scuppered for a question of decorum. The prison
uniform was deemed inappropriate dress for an official
"They told us the prime minister receives neither prisoners
nor fake prisoners," explained Carlo Rienzi, president of the
consumer group Codacons, "But for us it is an important symbol
for citizens imprisoned by taxes."
"The government called all the associations to discuss
economic policy except those of consumers and citizens, but we
continue to ask for an meeting and in the meantime we will go
forward alone with boycotts," Rienzi added, making reference to
the government's recent meetings with business associations and
unions to try to hammer a path toward reforms for productivity
and economic growth.
"We are convinced that the high road for relaunching
consumption is to free the market from added costs that weigh on
(the price of) goods," said Furio Truzzi, president of the
consumer group Assoutenti.
The consumer groups represented were Associazione
Consumatori Utenti, Assoutenti, Casa del Consumatore, Codacons,
Codici, Confconsumatori, Lega Consumatori, Movimento Difesa del
cittadino, Unione Nazioneale Consumatori, Coldiretti, Acli Terra
and Comitas.

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