A difficult budget must also be a fair budget – Boyle

Closing tax reliefs for high earners could raise significant extra taxes for the State

The Government must ensure that all earners contribute fairly to the tax system, Green Party Chairman Dan Boyle said today. Tax avoidance remains too prevalent, he said, and is placing intolerable pressure on the public finances.

Speaking today at a Social Justice Ireland conference on the future of the welfare state, the Green Party’s finance and social protection spokesman Dan Boyle spoke on a number of areas that are important to be addressed in the context of Budget 2011.

“It is clear that one of the groups at the highest risk of poverty in the country are those in low paid employment,” he said. It is critical that any measure to widen the tax base be also countered by measures where such low paid workers begin to gain the benefits of unused tax credits.

“In terms of how the budget deficit can be tackled, it is important that the Government implement as many as possible of the recommendations of the commission on taxation,” he added. “This would include closing many of the continuing unnecessary and unjustifiable tax reliefs. Such a move would result in significant additional taxation being collected by the State.

“Finally, we need to look at new forms of taxation that make our tax system more fair, and which will more adequately redistribute the tax burden. In this regard consideration should be given to transactional taxes on speculation, which would have a national as well as an international benefit,” Senator Boyle said.

“I believe Ireland should take a leading role within the EU and internationally in pushing for the introduction of a worldwide tax on financial transactions among speculators. Given recent global economic history, there has never been a better time to put this progressive tax in place. As well as inhibiting speculation, the proceeds might usefully be put to tackling climate change and world poverty, as well as dealing with bank failures.”