Tax Plan Set to Return To Assembly Floor

May 6, 2005

THE Permanent Fiscal ReformPackage, a controversial tax reform billthat has been struggling in the LegislativeAssembly for three years, is scheduled toreturn to the floor of the assembly May12. Legislators sent the plan back to commissionlast month for three days so commissionmembers could discuss possibleconstitutional violations in the bill.Legislators may now be able to apply aspecial, recently approved fast-track procedure(TT, March 11) to the project, speedingup its approval. They voted to send itback to commission to analyze proposedamendments and change parts of the planthat, according to some, violate theConstitution. The alleged violations wouldhave prevented the tax plan from qualifyingfor the fast-track procedure.During the three days in commission,commission members voted to removeclauses that would have allowed taxauthorities to access electronic documentsfrom taxpayers, thereby placing the bill incompliance with constitutional privacyclauses, the daily La Nación reported.Assembly members presented an unusuallyunited front on the April 18 decision tosend the plan back to commission – albeitfor conflicting motives. Those in favor ofthe plan proposed the return to commissionin hopes of making the plan eligible forquicker passage; the plan’s opponents alsofavored the return to commission, since theyhoped it would allow for more time-consumingamendments to delay, or even prevent,its approval (TT, April 15).However, commission presidentMario Redondo of the Social ChristianUnity Party (PUSC) dismissed 700motions to amend the plan, saying theycould not all be discussed during thethree-day limit. He suggested they be presentedwhen the plan returns to the floor.

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