New legislative leadership is not friendly to idea of more taxes

A change in the legislative leadership means that the executive branch will have a harder time getting new taxes approved.

A coalition of six political parties with 31 votes elected the leader of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana, Rafael Ortiz Fábrega, to be legislative president. The current leader, Henry Mora of the Partido Acción Ciudadana, received just 11 votes, presumably from his own party members.

In addition to the Partido Social Cristiana, the coalition includes Liberación Nacional, Movimiento Libertario, Alianza Demócrata Cristiana, Renovación Costarricense and Accesibilidad sin Exclusión.

In his talk to other lawmakers, Ortiz Fábrega said that he wanted to construct a new legislative building this year and that he wanted to emphasize controlling spending.

His view contrasted with that of President Luis Guillermo Solís, who spoke later Friday. The president urged passage of new taxes to solve the country’s deficit problem.

Most of the members of the new coalition are believed to oppose new taxes although they might be open to proposals to prevent tax cheating.

The new legislative president also said that he sought to reduce poverty, protect persons at the lower end of the economic and social scale, strengthen the educational system and do the same for the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

The Solís administration had been expected to present a series of new taxes to lawmakers. These include a proposal for a value-added tax to replace the current sales tax.  There also are plans to raise the tax rate.

Luis Vásquez, also of the Partido Social Cristiana won the post of vice president.  Juan Marín and Karla Prendas, both of the Partido Liberación Nacional, were named first and second secretary.

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