Survey says public rejects taxes but not government

Although the majority of citizens and residents do not favor new taxes, they favor a strong role of government in basic utilities and education.

For example in the case of Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo S.A., the government fuel monopoly, some 60 percent said they believe public ownership is necessary although they give it a so-so rating of 5.9 out of 10.

The opinions come from a survey by Tecnológico de Costa Rica, the Cartago university, that was done last month.

Those contacted also said that the job of preventing tax evasion was first that of the government.

Only 1.9 percent said they had ever reported a case of evasion they witnessed.

The majority, as expected, did not want more taxes, but six out of 10 also said they thought the country was headed toward a fiscal crisis. Some 25 percent said that such a crisis was imminent.

Some 40 percent had good expectations of the Luis Guillermo Solís administration in fiscal management. Solís is about to disclose his plans for a 15 percent value-added tax to replace the current 13 percent sales tax.

Some 37 percent said they were offered the option of paying more and receiving an official receipt or factura for a transaction in the last year. This is a typical ploy of some merchants who accept payment off the books so they do not have to pay sales tax and later income tax on the deal. They pass part of the savings on to the customer.

Some 513 persons were contacted by telephone, and the respondents were adjusted for gender, age and employment, said the university. The survey was by the Centro de Investigación en Administración, Economía y Gestión Tecnológica. There were similar surveys in 2011 and 2012.

Generally the respondents supported government or government-private providing of utilities and basic services.  But for water they favored public operations. In other words, the respondents favored what exists now.

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