Fiscal Reform Deadline Extended Until March 6

March 5, 2004

LEGISLATORS and the government last week agreed to extend the final deadline for the completion of last-minute changes to the government’s Permanent Fiscal Reform Package until March 6.

Last December, after 15 months of debate, a mixed commission that included representatives from every legislative faction, business chambers and other groups unveiled what was believed to be the final version of the tax plan. The government adopted the plan and submitted it back to the Legislative Assembly as a bill on Jan. 19 (TT, Dec. 5, 2003).

A nine-member legislative commission was created Feb. 5 to study the tax plan so it could be voted on. The commission was given until Feb 26 to make last-minute changes (TT, Feb. 13).

Commission members, in particular Federico Malavassi (TT, Feb. 20) of the Libertarian Movement and Humberto Arce of the Patriotic Bloc, issued several motions to reform the tax plan. When the Feb. 26 deadline arrived, there was still much work to do, they said.

Last week, while in Mexico during a 12-day, four-country tour, President Abel Pacheco (TT, Daily Feb. 21) said he agreed to give the commission one more week to study and modify the tax plan.

However, Pacheco made clear the new deadline would be final. The final deadline for the approval of the plan by April 30 would continue to stand, he said.

If the tax plan is not approved by then, the government will move ahead with “Plan B” – a ¢72 billion ($171.4 million, roughly 1% of the country’s gross domestic product) cut to the budgets of 15 different government ministries and several social programs.

 

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