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‘Alternative Budget’ claims to save €3.6billion without hitting poor

New proposals would deliver the necessary savings while also making Ireland fairer, according to Social Justice Ireland.

Image: www.SeniorLiving.Org via Ken Teegardin

A COMMUNITY ORGANISATION has proposed an ‘alternative Budget’ to Finance Minister Michael Noonan, insisting it can save the required €3.6billion while protecting society’s most vulnerable people.

Social Justice Ireland said its policy proposals would make the tax system fairer, address the unemployment problem and help the “working poor” trapped by low wages.

It said the government should lean towards increasing taxes rather than cutting public spending – but suggested a levy on corporate profits instead of income tax increases. Dr Seán Healy of Social Justice Ireland said: “Ireland’s total tax-take is one of the lowest in the developed world and should be increased to be closer to the EU average. Otherwise Government decisions are likely to provide short-term gain but long-term pain.”

The key points of the Alternative Budget were:

  • A new 2.5 per cent tax on corporate profits.
  • “Income-contingent loans” which would enable students to borrow money for university fees and living costs.
  • A “text tax” of one-third of 1c (€0.0033) on every SMS, which the organisation estimates would provide €40million in revenue.
  • €10million savings on government legal bills.
  • Two per cent tax on salt, alcohol, sugar and saturated fats.
  • “Part-time job opportunity programme” to provide paid part-time jobs to 100,000 of the long-term unemployed.
  • Increased funding for primary education and adult literacy.
  • New €1billion capital investment programme to boost the economy.

In a statement, Social Justice Ireland said:

These proposals provide an integrated, coherent approach to building a fairer future that is both achievable and desirable.  They are fiscally responsible.  They protect Ireland’s poorest and most vulnerable people. They also seek to develop great! er fairness in the tax system and in Ireland’s response to its present series of crises.

Watch: If taxes are raised in Budget 2012, which should they be?>

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Michael Freeman

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