Lawmakers are considering another dedicated tax on those who leave the country by air. This one is $5 for support of the Universidad Técnica Nacional and for technical studies in general.
The original proposal to also tax those leaving the country by land and by boat was shelved Tuesday during a meeting of the Comisión Permanente de Ciencia y Tecnología.
The idea for the tax came from the university’s council in April. The rector of the university, Marcelo Prieto Jiménez, was at the Tuesday meeting to discuss the measure, No. 18.624.
Based on figures in the proposed law, the new tax would raise about $10.1 million at the international airports. That total is based in 2011 departures of 2,008,211. So the actual amount would be higher.
There already is a $29 departure tax, so if this measure is passed, the tax will be $34. That means those leaving the country would pay in excess of $68 million each year.
Lawmakers created the university in 2008. There are now branches in Atenas, San Carlos, Cañas, Liberia and Puntarenas Centro with the central headquarters in Alajuela.
The university has plans to erect new buildings in Alajuela and Atenas. In Cañas an entire new campus is planned. In Puntarenas construction will be completed, and in San Carlos there are plans to build laboratories and buy land for expansion, the bill said.
The university noted that all the other public higher educational institutions have dedicated taxes to support them.
The Universidad Técnica Nacional needs a similar tax to sustain it and develop it, the original bill said.
Four dollars of the proposed tax will go directly to the university.
The additional dollar would be distributed among the various professional technical schools in the country to strengthen their programs, said Elibeth Venegas Villalobos, a lawmaker, as quoted in a summary Tuesday.