Go West

Enda Kenny is looking stateside and fancies copying their low tax rates

He’s promising tax cuts but the opposition is screaming “auction politics”.

Updated 6.58pm

WITHIN WEEKS OF the deadline for calling a general election, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has let it be known that he wants to cut taxes across the board.

Kenny hinted that he feels as if Ireland isn’t competitive in personal tax terms and he wants the country to have a tax model closer to that of the United States.

“One of the things we have to reach out to is to make personal tax rates competitive with Britain, and with Australia, and with Canada, and with the US,” he told reporters.

Kenny hinted that he would like to see the Universal Social Charge abolished over the course of the next six budgets. Labour favours a plan that would see it remain for workers earning more than €70,000.

The Taoiseach said that job creation would be stimulated if the tax burden on Irish people was closer to “lower personal taxed” countries.

Kenny’s comments come after a recent study by the Irish Tax Institute found that high earners in Ireland are taxed more heavily than most of their European and US counterparts.

The study showed that the effective tax rate for workers earning €75,000 was 36.51%, the third highest among the eight countries studied.

It worked out as greater than €9,000 more tax paid than workers on the same wage in the United States.

tax rates Irish Tax Institute Irish Tax Institute

The suggestion to reduce the burden on higher-earners is at odds with the political groupings on the left with Sinn Féin today describing it as “auction politics”.

“With American style taxes comes American style public services, ” said the party’s finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty.

We all know that healthcare in America is based on how much money a person has rather than the specific health needs of an individual.

The Donegal deputy went on to say that there are crises in the housing and health services and that these are in need of investment.

Meanwhile Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath said the proposals were “gimmickry designed to mislead voters in the run up to the election”.

“The fact of the matter is that US rates of income tax means US levels of public services in which people out of work are forced to rely on food stamps, where there is persistent pensioner poverty and a health service which is unaffordable and utterly inaccessible to millions.”

If this is Mr Kenny’s vision of Ireland, then he needs to come clean and admit it. I don’t believe it is a vision shared by the majority of Irish people.

Last night, a new Sunday Business Post/Red C poll showed support for Fine Gael rising to 32% while Labout also rose to 9%.

Originally published 2.41pm

Read: John Bruton reckons Ireland would have become independent without 1916 >

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