Lunedì, 24 Settembre 2018

Showdown looms within split govt over IMU tax


(By Christopher Livesay)

Rome, August 12 - The embattled parties that make
up Italy's coalition government continued to trade jabs Monday
over the controversial IMU property tax that threatens the
stability of the fractious executive.
Abolishing the tax was a key plank in the political
platform of three-time premier Silvio Berlusconi, who rallied to
second place in February elections to force an uncomfortable
alliance between his center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party
and the majority Democratic Party (PD) after two months of
parliamentary gridlock.
The PdL has threatened to pull its needed support from the
government if their campaign promise is not upheld, while in the
meantime IMU payments have been postponed through September as
part of a stopgap truce.
Speaking in Azerbaijan on Sunday, Letta said that pulling
the plug on the government would only ensure that IMU stays in
place since "you need both a government and parliament in order
to make reforms".
Regional Affairs Minister Graziano del Rio, from the center
left, said the government "will find a solution" but would not
fold to the PdL's call for an outright ban, something that Letta
"has never talked about," according to the La Repubblica daily
on Monday.
PdL House whip Renato Brunetta disagreed.
"Judging Letta's's clear that the IMU tax
on primary residences will be abolished and that there will be a
comprehensive reform of taxes on real estate," Brunetta also
told La Repubblica.
Civil Service Minister Gianpiero D'Alia, seen as a
moderate, argued Monday that IMU should be eliminated at least
for middle-class families, which "is now in a state of
unbearable taxation".
When the current coalition government was formed last
spring, there was a promise to eliminate the tax, claimed
D'Alia, a member of the centrist UDC party and a former deputy
secretary under Berlusconi.
Letta on Monday pledged once again that the issue will be
resolved by the end of the month to cool the firestorm sparked
last week by Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni.
In a list of nine hypothetical reforms, the former deputy
governor of the Bank of Italy said it would not be fair to
eliminate IMU, and to do so would cost the government 2.426
billion euros in revenue in 2013.
"The proposed exemption of IMU for primary residences does
not seem fully justified in terms of fairness and efficiency,"
said Saccomanni.
Pierpaolo Baretta, economy undersecretary, suggested the
whole debate may be resolved by changing the tax's name, for the
second time.
"It's safe to say that if the government lasts, IMU
payments for September will be waived, and by December, the
hypothesis is to introduce a new tax by a different name," he

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