Renua’s flat tax policy takes hit

Renua Ireland leader Lucinda Creighton’s 23% flat tax policies lay in tatters just hours after she launched her party’s manifesto.

It emerged that the Revenue Commissioners have said a flat tax rate of double that would be needed to replace all PAYE and USC income. It was confirmed that to deliver the same income for the State, while exempting salaries under €15,000, a flat tax rate of 46% would be necessary. The Revenue figures were contained in a reply from Finance Minister Michael Noonan to a parliamentary question.

Last October’s budget projected income tax (including USC) of €19.16bn for 2016, suggesting Renua’s flat tax would see a €9.5bn shortfall in the State’s coffers. Renua insisted any gap in the Exchequer figures would be recouped by a stimulus effect, while the flat tax would “damage the black market”.

At the launch, Ms Creighton also denied her party is “anti-poor” and “anti-public sector”. She was responding to questions from the Irish Examiner after Renua announced it favours the introduction of a flat tax, a reduction in public sector pensions, and forcing people to work 20 hours to get the dole.

Ms Creighton said her party will outline its “red lines” for entering government in advance of the general election and accepted many party policies will not be implemented if in power.

Speaking at the launch of Renua’s election manifesto, Ms Creighton pitched her party as a junior “watchdog” in a future coalition. The party will field 18 candidates in the general election. Of those, four signalled at the launch that they favour repealing the controversial 1983 Constitutional Amendment on abortion, though the party would not be taking a view on liberalising abortion, said Ms Creighton.

On social issues, Ms Creighton said party members, if elected, would not be bound by a whip, but would be free to vote in line with their conscience.

At under 3% in the polls, Renua Ireland could, at best, be the added numbers to help form a Government, but they denied they would be “propping anyone up”. Ms Creighton claimed no party would have a clear-cut majority after the election and the question voters had to ask was “who would be their watchdog in government?”.

Tax cuts for those who had difficulty affording childcare were promised and a commitment to invest €1bn in a network of community crèches. Motor tax would be abolished and replaced by a fuel levy.

There would also be reform of the local government system and directly elected mayors in every council area.

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