An additional tax which the new government intends to impose on people with high incomes should bring in €250 to €300 million a year, according to finance minister Vincent Van Peteghem (CD&V).
As part of the government accord agreed by the seven coalition parties at the end of September, an extra financial contribution will be demanded from “persons who have the greatest capacity to contribute”. The statement fell short of specifying who would be affected, and for how much.
It is Van Peteghem’s job to work out the details, but he made it clear yesterday, in a talk with the TV service of the Flemish parliament, that the measure will be ready to be included in the first budget adjustment of 2021, in March/April.
The proposal he will present at that time, he said, has to be sufficiently robust as to withstand the challenges that are likely to be brought.
When asked how much the budget would benefit from the new ‘contribution,’ Van Peteghem replied, “I think it should be in the order of 250-300 million euros.”
A tax on higher incomes has often been proposed, and just as often opposed. The inclusion in the government accords may be supposed to be the influence of the socialist parties PS and sp.a with the greens Ecolo-Groen at their back. A total of 50 seats in parliament.
It is just as likely to be opposed by liberals Open VLD and MR, representing only 26 seats.
CD&V have only 12 seats, and could not help the conservatives over the edge.
However, according to PS president Paul Magnette, speaking earlier this month, the liberals were themselves in favour of the measure.
“The liberals have accepted a contribution from the people with the broadest shoulders,” he told De Standaard.
“They realise there is no choice in a crisis like this,” he said.
Open VLD president Egbert Lachaert confirmed. “That the richest one percent contribute is acceptable to us,” he told Het Nieuwsblad.
Lachaert speculated that what he called the ‘solidarity levy’ would apply to any substantial income from speculation involving sums of one million euros or more. That would, he said, bring in some €200 million.