Brussels’ kilometre tax plan faces criticism from Flanders and Wallonia
Friday, 04 December 2020
Brussels' new kilometre tax plan, SmartMove, was criticised by Flanders and Wallonia. Credit: Belga
The Brussels government’s internal agreement on a kilometre tax has spawned protest from the regions of Flanders and Wallonia alike.
Yesterday, the Brussels government announced that it had reached an agreement to change the way drivers are taxed in the region, moving towards payment based on the number of kilometres driven and per drive in an effort to reduce the use of cars in the city by 25% by 2030.
Inter-regional talks on the matter, which are set to start in two weeks according to New Mobility News, could prove difficult based on reactions to the news.
In Flanders, the right-wing N-VA has called the new plan a “plain tax raise,” saying that revenue from the toll would increase revenue by €300 million compared to that under the current measures.
Meanwhile, Wallonia’s liberal party MR was equally vocal, with its leader Georges-Louis Bouchez taking to Twitter to ask what the Brussels government wants, wondering whether it was to “destroy the capital region a little more?”
Wat wil de linkse Brusselse regering? Het hoofdstedelijke gewest een beetje meer kapot maken? De bedrijven wegjagen? De gewone mensen en de middenklasse hebben geen extra belastingen nodig, maar wel investeringen en intelligente maatregelen! #brugov#belgium 🇧🇪
Translation: What does the left-wing Brussels Government want? Destroy the capital region a little more? Scare companies away? Ordinary people and the middle class do not need extra taxes, but investment and intelligent measures!
Brussels Secretary of State for Urbanism Pascal Smet has pleaded for the other regions to implement such a tax as well, and defended Brussels’ tax plan as “equitable” in the VRT programme Terzake.
“For Brussels, it’s not about the money, but to force a paradigm shift and fight traffic congestion that hurts both citizens of Brussels and the commuters,” he said, reiterating on Twitter that “now, it is time for consultation based on arguments, with the aim of fewer traffic jams and better air and life quality.”