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GreekReporter.comBusinessSamaras Wants Troika To OK Corporate Tax Cut

Samaras Wants Troika To OK Corporate Tax Cut

Greece says fish farms are a critical business and can help generate growth
Greece says fish farms are a critical business and can help generate growth

With most Greeks buried under big tax hikes to go along with salary cuts, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras reportedly wants to cut taxes for corporations to generate growth.
He will need permission from the country’s lenders, the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) which has taken control of much of Greek life since beginning 240 billion euros ($330.7 billion) in two bailouts four years ago.
With growth stagnant because of harsh austerity measures, Samaras will ask the country’s partners in the Eurozone on May 5 to gradually reduce corporation tax rates as part of a wider plan to generate growth in Greece, the newspaper Kathimerini reported.
At the same time, most Greeks are unable to pay their taxes because of major hikes in a number of categories, including 700 percent in property taxes.
Last year though the government did reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 23 to 13 percent on restaurants to boost tourist spending and to bring in customers for the establishment that are notorious for not giving receipts and keeping the monies they owe the government without lowering prices, giving them a double dividend.
Several government officials, including Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis met on April 22 to finalize a three-page proposal that will form the basis for a growth plan that will run from this year until 2020. Both coalition parties, New Democracy and PASOK, were represented at the meeting.
Samaras supported tax cuts when he was out of power – as he did the austerity he embraced after he won office in 2012.
Besides giving a break to businesses, the plan is for Greece to somehow drive growth in a few key areas, including tourism, renewable energy, exportable agricultural products, fish farms and waste management.
With Greek banks barely lending and depending on government handouts as well, the government reportedly will ask for extra European Union structural funds to finance those sectors.
“My immmediate source of concern is cash, liquidity,” Samaras told Bloomberg in an interview. “It’s crazy when you have companies that can really succeed, but lack access to finance.”
Samaras pointed to investment by companies such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Huawei and ZTE as evidence that the tide is turning. “We reached rock bottom and now we can only go up and we will go up,” he said.
The premier also underlined the government’s plans to build on the 2013 primary budget surplus, which Eurostat is expected to rubber-stamp today.
“We expect by the year 2015 that we will have not simply primary surplus, but that we’re going to have a fiscal surplus,” he said. “This means we will be able on our own to pay our debt, without borrowing at all. There are very few European countries that are doing this today.”
Samaras also dismissed the idea that the coalition would “lose big” in next month’s local and European Parliament elections.

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