AD warns electoral tax band widening could impact sustainability

Alternattiva Demokratika dubs Budget 2013 ‘budget of uncertainty’

AD chairperson Michael Briguglio.
AD chairperson Michael Briguglio.

Green party Alternattiva Demokratika has hit out at Budget 2013's disregard of low-income workers, saying the Nationalist Party's electoral considerations could risk the sustainability of public finance.

AD noted that Budget 2013 had taken on a surreal feel after statements by Nationalist MP Franco Debono who raised a breach of privilege against finance minister Tonio Fenech, and called on the Speaker to investigate a death threat made against him.

"Despite a number of positive measures the budget lacks a progressive direction especially for low to mid-income earners," AD chairperson Michael Briguglio said.

"If Franco Debono's statement holds, the budget will not be approved," Briguglio said of the MP's threat not to approve the budget. "Unfortunately Malta will have to keep guessing on the election date, given the current political situation."

Briguglio said that notwithstanding Malta's relatively positive economic performance, growing inequalities in Maltese society were not being catered for.

"The minimum wage and disability pension were not increased. Income tax deductions are not benefitting the vast majority of workers who earn less than Euro €19,500. We hope that the Nationalist Party's electoral considerations in income tax deductions will not have a negative impact on the sustainability of public finance."

AD welcomed the increased investment in education and health and in children's allowance, especially for minimum wage earners, and the extension of eligibility for disability pensions.

"Family-friendly social policies remain restrictive, and government's investment in childcare centres remains too low to ensure universal accessibility.

"As regards energy, we welcome incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency, but we insist that these should be Malta's energy priority.  As regards usage of government property for solar energy and access to solar energy for persons who are denied such usage, we expect more concrete information.

"We also note that years old wind energy promises remain unresolved. As regards water, we welcome the distribution of energy efficient water tap equipment, yet the theft of water from boreholes remains largely ignored."

Luke Camilleri
Budget 2013 ‘budget of uncertainty’- That's for certain!