Sabato, 20 Ottobre 2018
BRUSSELS

IMU deal 'close' says minister

English
© ANSA

(By Christopher Livesay)
Brussels, July 9 - Economy Minister Fabrizio
Saccomanni said Tuesday the left-right coalition was close to
reaching an agreement over the contentious issue of scrapping or
upholding the IMU property tax that some fear may tank the
government.
"We're holding a meeting tomorrow and this is the focus,"
he said.
Three-time premier Silvio Berlusconi, who swept to second
in February elections on an anti-IMU platform, has threatened to
pull his center-right party's support and topple the government
if the tax is not repealed, something he says will stimulate
consumer spending and economic growth in recession-plagued
Italy.
The government has so far postponed payments of the tax
while the economy ministry has stressed anything more would
threaten the health of the public coffers.
The EU has recommended that Italy relieve some of the tax
burden on labor by shifting it to consumption and property.
Olli Rehn, the European commissioner for economic and
monetary affairs, said on Tuesday he was "certain the Italian
government will take into serious consideration" the EU's
recommendations to keep the contentious IMU property tax.
International bodies have also urged Italy not to roll back
IMU.
The International Monetary Fund said last Thursday that
Italy cannot afford to lose the billions in euros that are now
generated by IMU, calling it a "fair and efficient" tax that has
equivalents in virtually all developed countries.
Echoing the IMF, the chief economist and deputy
secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation
and Development (OECD), Pier Carlo Padoan, said Friday the
government should keep IMU.
He suggested that property taxes are the least likely to
dampen economic growth compared with payroll and other labour
taxes that should be cut to boost Italy's economy.
But the center right is demanding the government scrap the
tax as well as avert a rise in the top band of a value-added tax
(VAT), from 21% to 22%, that is scheduled after being put in
place by the technocrat administration of former premier Mario
Monti.
Saccomanni has said implementing both measures would cost
four billion euros each and the total eight-billion-euro public
cost would entail "compensatory measures of extreme severity,
which at the moment is preposterous".

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