August 3, 2021

Strikers in Costa Rica take fight against fiscal reform to Judicial Power

Strikers in Costa Rica take fight against fiscal reform to Judicial Power

Struggling union groups since last September 10 in Costa Rica in rejection of the tax reform today transferred their struggle to the Judiciary to demand that the tax initiative be declared unconstitutional.

After last Friday's Congress approved the tax reform in the first debate, the strikers decided to concentrate today on the Plaza de la Justicia, located opposite the buildings of the Judicial Power, in the Costa Rican capital.

The day was marked by the low turnout of demonstrators, although unions say that in various regions of the country today there were activities and meetings of workers on strike.

The movement, which initially demanded the withdrawal of the fiscal reform of Congress and the drafting of a new text with union proposals, has been losing strength with the passing of days and especially with the legislative vote last Friday.

On Saturday the two main unions of the health sector reached an agreement with the Government and deposed the movement, so the great support that maintains the strike is that of the education unions, the most numerous in the country.

Throughout the strike, close to 70 percent of the educational staff joined the movement and only half of the schools opened, but with varying degrees of involvement.

The workers are now on strike for 29 days and demand that the Judicial Branch declare the reform unconstitutional, both by procedure and by merits, said the secretary general of the National Association of Public Employees (ANEP), Albino Vargas.

"We are here in the outskirts of the Judicial Power because the struggle is transferred to the Constitutional Chamber." Many consider that the processing of the fiscal combo was plagued by procedural irregularities and arbitrariness and that the fund also has serious problems of unconstitutionality, "Vargas said. to Efe.

The union leader said the movement is "historic" and remains "very strong" and criticized the country's president, Carlos Alvarado, of the center-left Citizen Action Party, for going to the "neoliberal" side.

"There is no meeting point with the government, people voted for Alvarado believing in something else, this is a political scam, Carlos Alvarado reneged on the principles and values ​​of his party and adopted the neoliberal macroeconomic recipe typical of international financial organizations." said Vargas.

The union leader said that the tax reform will affect the middle and lower classes more and will benefit the rich sectors and companies.

"We are opposed to the fact that it is the working class that pays the debt, this fiscal combo is full of taxes, of elimination of rights for what is left of the middle class and the popular sectors, while the sectors of big capital, winners of the model. neoliberal, not only increase their profits but allow them to continue stealing taxes, "he said.

The Congress approved the reform last Friday, with 35 votes in favor and 22 against, in the first of two necessary votes.

The project will be reviewed by various institutions, including the Constitutional Chamber, whose resolution will depend on whether the deputies can give the initiative a second debate.

According to the Government, the reform seeks to collect fresh resources equivalent to about 1.2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) to stabilize finances and alleviate the projected deficit of 7.1 percent of GDP by 2018.

The plan converts the sales tax of 13 percent into one of value added (VAT) of the same rate but that will tax the services and, in a differentiated way, some products that were previously exempt.

It also includes changes in income tax, capital income, global income and measures to reduce public spending, such as the reduction of salary bonuses.

The Government assures that 80 percent of the collection of the fiscal plan will fall on the 20 percent of the population of greater income.


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