Another meeting planned for today on nation’s finances

President Laura Chinchilla will be meeting today with more economics experts in an attempt to outline options for more tax money.

The president’s massive tax plan was battered in a Sala IV appeal, and now lawmakers are starting again to consider the measure which calls for a 14 percent value-added tax and expansion of the tax to many more transactions.

Ms. Chinchilla met Thursday night with former finance ministers and others in an attempt to develop options.

The discussion today is expected to center on a proposed law to strengthen tax collecting and administrative measures that can be put in force to improve the government’s income.

The central government had a budget in which nearly half the funds are borrowed. Ms. Chinchilla inherited substantial international debt from her predecessors. In addition, the central government workforce has ballooned in the last six years.
Ms. Chinchilla made no secret of the fact that she was betting fully on the tax plan. When asked several times, she and her ministers avowed that there was no Plan B in case the tax plan did not pass the legislature.

In order to expedite passage, the government party in the legislature and members of a coalition voted to put the measure on a so-called fast track that limited debate and discussion. A special committee was formed to consider the tax measure, and a deadline was established. The committee did not meet the deadline and continued meeting to produce a package that was sent to the full legislature. There it received initial approval.

However, the Sala IV constitutional court said that the committee members could not vote to extend the committee’s life. A vote of the entire legislature was required, said the court in a unanimous decision.

Ms. Chinchilla was critical in her April 11 Battle of Rivas speech in Alajuela about minorities being able to frustrate the plans of the democratically elected majority. Of course, that is the whole point of a written constitution.

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