MANILA (Mabuhay) – Senator Sonny Angara on Thursday challenged potential presidential and vice-presidential candidates in the 2016 elections to take a stand on proposals to lower personal income tax rates.
“We issue the challenge to the candidates for the 2016 to take a position on tax reforms…It has to be on the agenda of all candidates and sana maaga pa lang, i-debate na natin,” Angara told reporters during a weekly briefing at the Senate.
Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, said legislative proposals to amend tax rates is an issues that resonates with the public and could potentially help candidates who are rating low in the surveys.
“If they want to take up an issue that means a lot to the public, this is a potential issue that’s attractive. It cannot hurt them,” he said.
But Angara admitted that “it takes a lot of courage” to make a stand at this point because the proposals would make an impact on millions of Filipinos.
Earlier this week, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero asked President Benigno Aquino III to certify the said proposals pending in Congress as urgent.
Escudero, who is considering a vice-presidential run next year, said the present 32-percent tax rate is one of the highest in the region.
Angara said it is not enough for the Aquino administration to say that it’s open to proposals to lower income tax rates.
“Kumbaga, halos lip service na lang para walang magalit kaya sinasabi na we are open,” he said.
“Kung sa basketball ito, eh fourth quarter na. Hindi pwedeng dribble tayo nang dribble,” the senator added.
Angara said a go-signal from the President would put pressure on the House of Representatives to debate on the measure, noting that all revenue measures must originate from the lower chamber.
Under his proposal, Angara seeks to lower tax rates to 10 percent from 15 percent for those earning between P20,000 to P70,000, and to 25 percent from the current 32 percent for those earning over P1 million.
He warned that the poverty level will remain unchanged and could even worsen if the proposed tax reforms are not implemented.
“If we take into account yung high utility price na binabayaran natin, financial cost of travelling, high cost of food, talagang walang naiiwan,” Angara said.(MNS)