By editor - 01 July, 2015
Social Justice Ireland has called on Finance Minister, Michael Noonan, to raise taxes and not reduce them in the Budget for 2016.
“This is not the time for tax cuts. All available resources should be used to invest in addressing Ireland’s major deficits, in areas such as caring, housing and poverty that affect the young, the old and most in between”, Dr Sean Healy, Director of Social Justice Ireland, said.
Speaking at the launch of the think tank’s policy briefing on Budget Choices, he outlined a series of investment packages and a corresponding series of tax reform proposals for Budget 2016.
Social Justice Ireland is the only organisation outside Leinster House, which annually produces a fully-costed budget, within the parameters set by Government.
For 2016, its proposals produce an increase in expenditure, over revenue, of €1.5 billion, as proposed by the Government, but it does this in a very different way.
“After many years of coping with the financial downturn, we, as a nation, now need to consider what sort of a future we want for our children and our grand-children,” according to Michelle Murphy, Research and Policy Analyst with Social Justice Ireland.
Social Justice Ireland believes it is time for a new policy framework – one that recognises the need to increase taxes in line with the European average – these taxes will then fund the services that we need.
According to Michelle Murphy, “Some of the decisions we take now, on issues like social housing, childcare and broadband, may not bear fruit for some years, yet it is vital that these good decisions are taken now, because these decisions will shape the way Ireland looks and functions in the future.”
Dr Healy SMA concluded by stating, “Whilst Minister Noonan is required to frame Budget 2016 within the parameters of the EU Stability and Growth Pact, this should not stop him from framing worthwhile, and overdue, investments in society, as well as the economy.”
SJI’s main proposals are:
– Additional €680m to support the Social Housing Strategy, with new ‘Off Balance Sheet’ proposal to get access to low cost finance.
– €350m investment in health to support Primary Care Teams, with additional measures to support older people, disability and to tackle Obesity.
– A Social Welfare package including the introduction of a Universal Pension, combined with an increase of €6.50 per week in Social Welfare Payments.
– €350m investment in Education including Adult Literacy, after school care and early childhood education.
– A rural and regional investment of €710m for Broadband, Rural Transport and a Rural Enterprise Scheme.
– Introduce a minimum effective corporate tax rate of 6% (revenue + €1bn)
– Extend the USC levy of 3% to all income in excess of €100,000 (revenue + €210m)
– Make Tax Credits refundable – to tackle the ‘working poor’ issue
– Increase the PAYE credit by €6.50 per week to benefit all workers
– Social Justice Ireland wants this country to have EU average levels of tax, with EU average levels of services and infrastructure – this is not the situation as it exists today.
Social Justice Ireland is an Independent Think Tank and Justice Advocacy Organisation that advances the lives of people and communities, through providing independent social analysis, and effective policy development, to create a sustainable future for every member of society, and for societies as a whole
The full text of the Policy Briefing ‘Budget Choices’ see: http://www.socialjustice.ie/