Lunedì, 22 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Italy's Audit Court warns against more austerity

English
© ANSA

Rome, February 5 - Italy's Audit Court warned
against further tax increases on Tuesday, saying these would
have recessionary effects and worsen, rather than improve,
public finances.
The court's attorney general also warned that corruption is
widespread within Italian public administration and has cost the
economy as much as one billion euros in European Union funding.
The court, as it opened its 2013 judicial year, noted that
tax hikes and spending cuts introduced by outgoing Premier Mario
Monti's emergency technocrat government have boosted the
national accounts, raised investor confidence in the country and
eased pressure on its borrowing costs.
But they have also deepened the recession and there has
been speculation another austerity budget may be needed after
this month's general election to put Italy on course to hitting
its target of balancing the budget in structural terms this
year.
As a result, Audit Court President Luigi Giampaolino warned
that tax increases should not be considered, saying that the tax
burden was already "out of line" and that the hikes would create
"the conditions for further recessionary effects".
Giampaolino added that austerity budgets produced the
"danger of shrinking the economy", stressed the need to focus on
"factors in favour of helping growth" and the need to cut taxes
for "a fairer distribution of the tax burden".
Meanwhile, his colleague Salvatore Nottola, attorney
general of the court, stated that fraud has deprived the Italian
economy more than one billion euros in European Union funding
over the past decade.
Despite the efforts of Italy's financial police, fraud
related to the illegal use of EU funds has led to the
billion-euro losses, said Nottola.
Fraud is often found at the intersection of local
authorities and local companies, who take on projects beyond
their management abilities, he said.
"The adverse effects of mismanagement or illegal behaviour,
sometimes even criminal," contribute to the waste of EU funds,
Nottola said.
He also warned that corruption in Italy is a widespread
problem found throughout public administration.
Such corruption causes "serious damage to the public image
(of government) and takes away from the peoples' confidence in
institutions," said Nottola.
Nottola insisted he was not commenting on the current
national election campaign.
On Monday ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi called for a broad
tax amnesty to bring in revenues.
A tax amnesty has both "intuitive and well-founded"
rationale, said Nottola.
But, he added, the outcome is not always certain as a tax
amnesty can also mean that tax evasion is tolerated, rather than
punished.
Berlusconi says that he favours a new tax amnesty after his
last government passed a controversial one in 2009-2010 that
brought home 104.5 billion euros in capital and other assets
hidden abroad.

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