Opponents of proposed tax will take to the streets today

Costa Rican unions announced Monday action against the Ley de Solidaridad Tributaria, or fiscal plan. The Sindicato de Trabajadoras and the Trabajadores de la Educación Costarricense called for members and the general public to join the protest.

A march is scheduled in San Jose today at 9 a.m. from Parque Central to the Asemblea Legislativa. Avenida Segunda will be closed to accommodate marchers.

Beatriz López Ferreto, president of the Asociación de Profesores de Segunda Enseñanza, said the organization will issue a document stating opposition to the the plan and demand its rejection.

The plan is being pushed by Casa Presidencial in an effort to generate $500 million more income a year.

The plan would extend the current 13 percent sales tax to many other financial transactions and up the rate to 14 percent. Previously exempt activities like hiring professional services and paying for private education now would be taxed.

Oppositions to the tax package say it is largely regressive and places value added taxes on consumer goods mostly at the expense of thousands of impoverished families. The organization calling for the fight said they will not be backing down if the vote goes through before Dec. 24.

“If the project is approved in the first debate, protest actions will continue in 2012,¨ said Ms. Ferreto, ¨even if the Sala IV declared it did not contain constitutional defects.”

Ms. Ferreto said that taxes should fall on luxury goods and services, adding that those who make more should pay more. Also suggested was cracking down on tax evasion, which may be as high as 70 percent.

Some of the more radical elements are calling for a general strike and occupation of the legisalture.

Legislators are considering working through what normally would be a Christmas recess to pass the measure. A coalition of the political parties Liberación Nacional and Acción Ciudadana would seem to assure a favorable vote.

Some protesters oppose the way in which the legislative leadership put the measure on a so-called fast track that limits debate. Still there are thousands of proposed amendments that have to be discussed individually.

Many of those who now oppose the tax are the same individuals and groups that opposed the free trade treaty with the United States and other Central American countries.

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