No one earning less than €30,000 a year should have to pay the Universal Social Charge, People Before Profit has insisted in its pre-budget proposals.
The left-wing group says that the Finance Department has costed its measures, as it insisted any “crumbs” handed out by the Government today will be swept away by the burden of water charges and the property tax.
Dun Laoghaire TD Richard Boyd Barrett wants to pay for zero USC for people earning less than €30,000, cutting the rate to 2.5% for those earning between €30,000-€60,000, and 5% for those earning €60,000-€100,000, by increasing income tax on those with the largest salaries.
Under the plans, four new tax bands would be imposed on earnings above €100,000 — which Mr Boyd Barrett says the Department of Finance has confirmed would yield an extra €922m — which would cover nearly all the €950m cost of cutting USC for people on lower wages.
Mr Boyd Barrett said that Government figures show that 113,487 people earn more than €100,000, paying an effective 35% rate of tax and USC.
The PBP budget blueprint also calls for a wealth tax of 2% on assets worth above €1m, excluding the family home or farm, insisting this measure would raise €1bn per year.
This could pay for the abolition of the property tax and water charging, which bring in €500m a year, PBP said.
The group also wants to reverse cuts in welfare spending at a cost of €1.47bn, with the restoration of the Christmas bonus alone coming in at €260m.
Mr Boyd Barrett said some €4bn in extra revenue could be raised by reforming corporation tax.
Corporation tax should be set at a nominal rate of 15%, with companies made to pay an effective minimum rate of 12.5%.
PBP insisted the system needed a radical overhaul as some global firms are paying “a tiny fraction” of what they should, which in turn increased financial pressures on low-income earners.
PBP also want to see a major investment of €2bn in social housing, as well as reversing cuts in education as part of their proposed budget plans.
The group also wants to see the health service receive an additional €1bn to reopen 1,500 closed beds and increase staffing levels.
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