Venerdì, 19 Ottobre 2018

Tax turmoil continues within Letta govt alliance


Rome, June 17 - The unprecedented left-right
alliance supporting Premier Enrico Letta's government continued
to be hit by turmoil over taxes on Monday, feeding speculation
the administration could be short-lived.
Letta was sworn in as prime minister in April after his
centre-left Democratic Party (PD) reluctantly agreed to form a
coalition with their bitter rivals in ex-premier Silvio
Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party to end
two months of deadlock following February's inconclusive general
But since then the PD and PdL have been bickering about
several issues, above all tax.
The PdL has threatened to pull its support and sink Letta's
broad coalition government if it fails to scrap the unpopular
IMU property tax and refund the revenues raised from it in 2012
to respect the key pledge Berlusconi made in the election
But the centre-right party also wants to avert a rise in
the top band of value added tax (VAT), from 21% to 22%, that is
scheduled for July after being put in place by former premier
Mario Monti's technocrat administration.
The PdL fears the VAT rise will further depress weak
consumer spending and deepen the country's longest recession in
over 20 years.
But Industry Minister Flavio Zanonato said in an interview
published in Monday's edition of Rome-based daily La Repubblica
that "it is very difficult to find the money" to not raise VAT.
He added that he hoped Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni
manages to "pull off a miracle" and stop VAT increasing.
The PdL hit back with senior Senator Fabrizio Cicchitto
saying that "Zanonato is a gaffe merchant or a (political)
Saccomanni, a former Bank of Italy director general who is
not a member of a party, said last week that it would not be
possible to avert the VAT rise and scrap IMU.
He was contradicted soon after by Deputy Premier and
Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, who is the PdL's secretary.
In a separate interview with Corriere della Sera, Relations
with Parliament Minister Dario Franceschini, another PD man,
said combatting youth unemployment was more of a priority than
IMU and VAT, with around four out of 10 Italians aged 15-to-24
out of work.
There are media reports that part of the PD unhappy about
being in government with the PdL may want to see Letta's
administration fall to make it possible to form a new executive
with the left-wing SEL party and possible defector lawmakers
from the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.

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