Tax plan probably headed for Sala IV constitutional court

Lawmakers who oppose the value-added tax package of the Chinchilla administration are expected to move to send the measure to the Sala IV constitutional court for review.

At the very least, this will delay legislative action on the tax plan until early next year. In addition thousands of motions have been filed on the bill, and each one requires discussion and debate.

There also is the Christmas holiday when lawmakers do not meet.

Also in the Sala IV is the Asamblea Legislativa’s expedited system of considering bills. The so-called fast track system came into being during debate over the free trade treaty with the United States and other nations. The rule prevented opposition lawmakers from tying up action forever with extended debate.

The rule limits debate in the general assembly called the plenario. Still, thousands of motions will take weeks to consider and vote, even if the final vote is not uncertain.
The Sala IV has yet to rule on the fast-track measure.

The constitutional court already has ruled on a separate tax on corporations, But by sending the measure to the Sala IV, opponents were able to delay final action for weeks. The bill already received initial approval, but it was sent back to committee to solve some minor problems specified by court magistrates. This is the bill that would assess each corporation slightly more than $300 a year. The measure was supposed to go into effect Jan. 1, and payments were supposed to be made by the middle of the month. That does not seem likely now.

The tax on corporations is designed to provide money for the central government for some security projects. Inactive corporations are supposed to be assessed half the amount of the bill for active corporations.

The Partido Liberación Nacional has made an agreement with the Partido Acción Ciudadana to support a revised tax measure advanced by President Laura Chinchilla Miranda. The coalition includes several independent lawmakers and appears to have enough votes to pass the tax bill if it ever reaches that point.

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