Chile’s lower house of Congress rejected proposals for a property tax and higher corporate taxes, a major blow to the legislation, which has been criticized by investors and President Sebastián Piñera’s government.
The wealth tax was supported in an article-by-article vote Tuesday by 79 lawmakers, 92 of which were not needed. The legislation that would have raised the corporate tax rate from 27 percent to 30 percent was also not passed. There is still a chance that senators will attempt to reinstate the measures in the coming weeks.
The tax law is one of several proposals that have been discussed by the Chilean Congress and that have set red flags among investors in recent weeks. Last month, lawmakers approved a third round of early retirement withdrawals and are currently working on a mining license fee plan. The proposals reflect mounting pressure to counter the social and economic effects of the pandemic.
The wealth tax is also part of a wave of such proposals across Latin America as lockdowns stall economies and governments struggle to stave off rising poverty rates. Argentina and Bolivia have already taken similar measures.
In Chile, critics of the law have stated that this is not an efficient way to increase government revenues, can deter private investment, and is also unconstitutional.
Income inequality and funding for social services like education and health care will be priorities when the country writes its new constitution next year. At the weekend, the elections largely left the writing of the new charter in the hands of independents and left-wing parties.
On Tuesday, the House of Commons approved a 19 percent cut in sales tax to four percent for key products such as milk, bread and vegetables, and a 10 percent cut for fuels, health products and hotels. The proposal stipulates that the new tax rates will be introduced by the end of next year.
by Valentina Fuentes, Bloomberg