Asamblea gives initial approval to massive tax plan

Lawmakers gave initial approval to the controversial tax plan Wednesday night by a 31 to 19 vote. There was a recount with the same outcome. The vote did not take place until nearly 8 p.m.

The tax plan has been under discussion for more than a year, noted María Jeannette Ruiz Delgado of Partido Acción Ciudadana. There were more than 2,000 motions to review in order for the vote to take place. An alliance was formed by the two major supporters of the plan, Partido Liberación Nacional and Partido Acción Ciudadana. Both parties agreed to waive the motions in order to vote.

The new taxes have been eagerly awaited by President Laura Chinchilla.

The opposition was upset by the lack of extensive debate, denied by a fast track-rule. This did not allow lawmakers to speak more than five minutes on aspects of the proposal. Some lawmakers have sought a ruling from the Sala IV constitutional court to invalidate the process. Earlier Wednesday lawmakers spent hours discussing their position. There were no new points that hadn’t been discussed in the past.

There were the usual complaints from the opposition about the proposed fiscal plan, such as that it is retrogressive, will only affect the poor, it’s a joke, and only benefits the rich.

And there were the usual praises from supporters They have said the fiscal plan is progressive and absolutely necessary for the financially strapped country.

During the discussions, at one point all but three members from the Partido Acción Ciudadana walked out. Two of them, María Muñoz Quesada and Juan Carlos Mendoza García, opted out of the alliance and voted against the fiscal plan. Mendoza is the president of the Asamblea Legislativa.

The appeal to the Sala IV freezes a second and final vote.

The tax plan creates a 14 percent value-added tax that covers many more transactions than the current 13 percent sales tax. It also taxes private education, private medical care and professional services.

An outline of the specifics is HERE!

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