Is tax reform bill in House anti-poor? Lawmaker weighs in

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 23 2017 10:56 AM

MANILA - A tax reform bill that is up for debates in the House of Representatives will burden the poor, a lawmaker who withdrew his support form the measure said Tuesday.

Poor people will bear the brunt of new duties that will be put in place to offset a reduction in income taxes, Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate told ANC's Headstart.

"As we see it, mas regressive ito dahil mas pinalala mo, mas dinagdagan mo ang burden ng ating mga ordinaryong mamamayan na overtaxed na at underpaid dahil wala namang nangyaring pagtaas ng sweldo nitong mga nakaraang panahaon na sasapat sa pangangailangan nila," he added.

(As we see it, this is regressive because you will impose additional burden to ordinary people who are overtaxed and underpaid. Their salaries have not been increased, not enough for their needs.)

Zarate enumerated some ways the bill would adversely affect the poor.

- Minimum wage earners are already exempted from income tax, but they will have to pay the additional taxes that will be imposed on some goods. The bill seeks to tax fuel and sweetened beverages.

- Imposing excise tax on diesel will create a domino effect. The proposed P6 per liter duty will prompt calls for an increase in fares.

- Higher fuel prices could also push up power rates. Food prices could also go up with the higher cost of transporting agricultural products.

- Removing the value-added tax (VAT) exemption for homes rented for less than P10,000 per month will also affect the poor.