The Sala IV constitutional court has agreed to accept a case challenging the way the package of new taxes is being handled in the legislature.
At issue is the so-called via rapida in which debate is limited to 10 minutes on each amendment. The method originally was designed to speed passage of the free trade treaty with the United States and related measures. There are thousands of proposed amendments.
The constitutional court did not freeze discussion on the tax proposal, which is now on the floor of the legislature. But it did order that no final vote be taken until the appeal is decided.
President Laura Chinchilla Miranda is seeking to have the measure passed during what would be the Christmas break. The legislature is being asked to stay in session.
The tax plan would raise an estimated $500 million in new taxes to offset a crippling deficit.
The uncertainty surrounding the tax plan has caused a noticeable slowdown in business activity here.
The challenge was submitted in October by Luis Fishman of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana. He opposes the new taxes.
At some point the tax bill will be submitted to the Sala IV for review, but that is not the purpose of this action. The current challenge is to the constitutionality of the fast track method. Usually debate is as long as lawmakers want.
Lawmakers voted Sept. 27 to put the tax plan on the fast track. That vote came after the Partido Liberación Nacional and Partido Acción Ciudadana entered into a coalition to pass a revised tax plan submitted by the executive branch.
The tax proposals are controversial. The bill proposes a 14 percent value added tax, extends the tax to professional services and taxes private education at 2 percent