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10/09/2018 12:00:00 AM


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Healy, Seamus

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Financial Resolutions 2019

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Budget Statement 2019

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Financial Resolutions 2019\Budget Statement 2019

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Budget Statement 2019

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Senator


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Deputy Seamus Healy

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Deputy Seamus Healy

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Seamus Healy

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10/29/2019 11:58:45 AM

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Snippet Contents:

I welcome the opportunity to speak on budget 2019. The budget is shamefully inadequate in view of the extreme crisis in housing and health and the need to fully restore cuts in welfare, disability provision, public service pay and pensions and other areas. Some might say that today's budget is a missed opportunity. It is not. It is a conscious and deliberate policy decision by Fine Gael, the Independent Alliance and Fianna Fáil to protect the massive increase in wealth of the Irish super rich from fair taxation and to make further tax concessions to them. Prudent budgeting does not require limiting spending to the shamefully inadequate figures in today's budget. The European Union's fiscal treaty does not require it either, and it does not forbid raising extra revenue provided it is recurrent. Significant additional income could have been raised if the Government was prepared to make the super rich pay their fair share in taxation. The Minister said numerous times that his income tax and USC measures are to ease the burden on those on low and middle incomes. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a budget for the super rich.
What happened in this budget? According to the CSO, 1.18 million workers are on incomes of less than €30,000 per year. Some 1 million of them are PAYE workers and 180,000 are self-employed. They comprise 40% of the workforce. There is no income tax gain for the 1 million PAYE workers in this category, not even a cent. The income tax gain for the 180,000 self-employed is the princely sum of €40 per year, less than €1 per week. The EU tells us that inflation next year will be 1.3%, which will wipe out the huge figure of €40 per year. There is an increase of €5 in social welfare payments. Social welfare recipients must wait until next March to get it and it does not go anywhere near restoring the pre-cut levels of payment. For the third year in a row there is no increase in child benefit.
Contrast that to what has happened to people of wealth, the rich and powerful in our society. The CSO says that 53,000 individuals have incomes ranging from €150,000 to €2 million per annum. They get the full tax and USC benefits of this budget, totalling €13.1 million. There is a golden circle of rich and powerful individuals in this society who have not been touched by the budget. There is no wealth tax on their assets, and they have huge assets. The top 10% of these wealthiest individuals have assets that are €40 billion above peak boom levels. They will not pay a cent on them. The overall financial assets are now €77 billion above peak boom levels and there is not a single cent of taxation on them either. The 300 wealthiest individuals who have €100 billion will not pay a cent on those assets.
Last week, the Comptroller and Auditor General reported on how these individuals avoided tax. He described it as tax avoidance by the super rich. Some 83 of these high net worth individuals, with in excess of €50 million in assets, declared taxable income of less than the average industrial wage of less than €36,500. It is shameful.
With regard to the banks, Bank of Ireland, AIB and Permanent TSB had profits last year of €2.5 billion. They did not pay a euro in tax on them and they will not pay one euro this year or for the next 20 years. The last Government and this Government have exempted them from such tax. These are the banks that the taxpayer bailed out. They are the banks that brought huge and savage austerity on the backs of families throughout this country. They continue to evict families from their family homes, but they will not pay a single cent in tax.