2005News

President wants tax reform now

Major reports in all of the nation’s papers are pointing to ever-increasing pressure from President Leonel Fernandez to get the tax reform through Congress. Meeting at the Internal Revenue offices as well as at the Customs Department, together with meetings with congressional leaders all point towards a renewed effort to get the legislation on track. According to Hoy, there are at least ten discussion points that remain on the agenda. After Friday’s meeting, with Fernandez in attendance, the group decided to meet at the Internal Revenue offices on Saturday, at Customs on Sunday and at the Santo Tomas Campus of the PUCMM in Santo Domingo today. Presidency Technical Secretary Temistocles Montas told El Caribe reporters that he felt that a deal was near, as the tripartite committee worked on the 10 points. Diario Libre said that the tripartite committee – made up of business, legislators and government representatives – would work on the sticking points over the weekend and have something for the President to send to Congress on Tuesday. Yesterday, in the frontier town of Pedernales, President Fernandez said that tax legislation could wait no longer and that he was sending the proposal to the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday. He said that he was gratified to learn that the business community had approved the 1.5% tax on anticipated gross sales. Among the accords arrived at during yesterday’s session were special treatment for businesses that had suffered losses, the conditions that will apply to natural disasters and the 1.5% tax, but the issue of energy costs are still under discussion, especially the difference in the price of diesel fuel, which allows it to be less expensive than gasoline. The tripartite committee meetings were attended by the head of CONEP, Elena Viyella de Paliza, the government’s economic team, headed by Temistocles Montas, Miguel Cocco and Juan Hernandez, and the Finance Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, headed by Marino Collante. Diario Libre says today that the fuel question will be dealt with during today’s meeting of the committee at PUCMM. According to Elena Viyella, the central issue at today’s meeting will be the cost of energy and fuels. According to a quote in the Diario Libre, Viyella de Paliza told reporters, “Nothing is agreed, until everything is agreed.”