Tourism representatives oppose tax increase proposals

The executive director of the tourism chamber told lawmakers Tuesday that a proposed new tax would damage a sector of the economy that was beginning to recuperate from the economic recession.

He is Mauricio Céspedes of the Cámera de Turismo. He spoke to the Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Hacendarios that is considering President Laura Chinchilla’s proposals for some $500 million in new taxes.

Céspedes noted that some tourism operations are exempt from sales tax and that the new proposals would end this. He also noted that the industry was struggling with the lower exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the colon.
He was joined by Gustavo Araya, representing the hotel chamber, who also said the time was not appropriate for new taxes.

A day earlier, the construction chamber made the same statements to the committee. Rodrigo Altman, first vice president of the Cámera de Construcción, said the tax proposals would hurt his industry in two ways. First many builders are not now required to pay sales tax.

But they would have to pay the proposed 14 percent value-added tax, he said.

In addition an increase to 2.5 percent from the current 1.5 percent property transfer tax also would hurt construction, he said.

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