Employees union says minister is on an obsessive crusade

The nation’s public employee union has accused the finance minister of conducting an obsessive crusade to raise more taxes, and he is directing the campaign against workers.

The union, the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados, expressed its unhappiness with the suggestion that the government would begin taxing Christmas bonuses, lottery winnings, and the salario escolar.

The minister, Édgar Ayales Esna, said Wednesday that everything was subject to review as the government seeks new sources of income. He said a new tax bill would be made public within a year and specifically mentioned the three new possible levies.

The union said on its Web page that the government’s financial problems are due to an unjust tax system. There is gigantic evasion and a system of exonerations that does not help the country. The union said that fully 6 percent of the gross domestic product was subject to exemptions from taxes. That’s a tax base of about 1.2 quadrillion colons, about $2.4 trillion, the union estimated.

The union contended that the working class pays its taxes on time both as income tax and in sales tax whenever a purchase is made.

Costa Rica has a system of tax exonerations for companies coming here and also a system of free trade zones where normal tax is not assessed.

The salario escolar is a system of untaxed salary deduction designed to provide parents money for children’s clothing and supplies when they return to school.

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