Former PM Ponta: Battling to persuade all lawmakers, regardless of party, to quash split VAT plan

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Former Premier Victor Ponta, commenting on Monday in Targu-Jiu on plans to introduce the split VAT, said that it is possible to build a majority in Parliament to vote against the split payment of the respective tax, but that Social Democratic lawmakers “are reluctant to vote like this for fear not to upset Mr. Dragnea.”

“Unfortunately, the so-called governing program we all presented and all believed in was no longer valid on the very next day after elections, it’s no longer valid and I see no one cares to enforce it, the social and economic measures are headed for the wrong direction. (…) We are putting all efforts into persuading all MPs, regardless the party membership or party orders, to quash this story with the split VAT, it’s still possible before it comes into effect on January 1, and as the approval law will be submitted to Parliament, I assume the right-wing lawmakers will anyway vote against it; if ALDE members, who are liberals, also vote in the same manner, the PSD members almost in their entirety agree with us, but they are afraid to vote so as not to upset Mr. Dragnea. Still, a majority can be raised to rid us of the split VAT attempt. I also hope the announced switch of the contributions to the employee does not clear Parliament, because again this would cause a huge turmoil and put budget collections into great trouble,” Ponta told a press conference.

He added that from an economic and fiscal-budgetary point of view, the new measures nix what has been done in the last five years.

“There was a time I hope you haven’t forgotten, the period 2009-2010, and then 2011 when things began to fare well, the economy was revving up, we had revenues enough to raise wages and pensions, but we also did other important things regarding public investment, European funds. Regrettably, in 2017 spending is not replenished in government coffers, specifically collections are going down, expenditures are rising and if we continue at this pace, it will be harder in 2018, and we’ll be out of money in 2019. It would be a pity for us to have a 10-year setback, I think this would be very bad,” said the former Prime Minister.