POLITICS

Basescu, Ponta row over local taxes executive decree

In a tough wording communiqué, the presidency warns the government not to blame ‘other institutions’ for not adopting the decision on the modification of local taxes. Ex PM Boc defends Basescu, accusing Ponta of not being familiar with Constitutional provisions, claiming the government could have adopted a decree as early as December 27. Ponta explained the decree could not have been adopted in due time as the president failed to sign the law that allows the Cabinet to adopt executive decrees during the Parliament Christmas break.

The executive decree on modifying the Fiscal Code in what concerns local taxes will be adopted during the government meeting this week, the government announced yesterday. The text of the ordinance was prepared during the government meeting on January 5 but the ordinance could not be adopted because President Traian Basescu did not promulgate the law that allows the government to issue decrees during the Parliament’s recess until after the meeting. “Moreover, the law that allows the government to issue ordinances during the Parliament’s recess is coming into force three days after it is published in the Official Gazette. For that reasons, the ordinance on modifying the Fiscal Code in what concerns local taxes will be adopted during the government meeting this week,” the communiqué issued to the press following the statements made by Cluj Mayor Emil Boc points out. Emil Boc had urged Premier Victor Ponta to adopt the decree that gives local authorities the possibility of hiking local taxes by 16 per cent. The Mayor of Cluj stated on Sunday during a press conference that the Cluj-Napoca City Hall will not collect taxes on buildings and plots of land on January 7-11, until the situation is clarified.

At the same time, Emil Boc stated that if the decree does not appear he will convene the Cluj-Napoca Local Council at the end of the week in order to hike local taxes by 16 per cent. Boc accused yesterday Victor Ponta of not knowing the Constitution and that he could have issued a government decree on local authorities regulating local taxes as early as December 2012. Also yesterday, in reply to the communiqué issued by the government, using stern language, the presidency warned the government to stay within “the limit of decent statements” and “not to put the blame” on other institutions or persons for not adopting the decision on modifying local taxes. President Traian Basescu promulgated on Thursday, January 3, the law that allows the government to issue ordinances during the Parliament’s recess and notified Premier Victor Ponta, the presidency adds. PM Ponta replied yesterday that both the government and the president acted constitutionally on this issue, pointing out that Emil Boc was the only one that did not act similarly, adding that the cohabitation agreement will not be discarded.

Dragnea: “Local authorities should apply current legislation

Deputy Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea stated yesterday, when asked about the local authorities’ action on taxes, that for the time being local authorities should apply the legislation in force, namely should hike taxes by 16 per cent, and it will remain to be seen what has to be done when the government issues the ordinance. “I am asking local authorities to look carefully over the laws currently in force. There is a Fiscal Code in force and there is a government decision that hiked local taxes and that they have to apply. When the ordinance that modifies the Fiscal Code appears they will read it and they will see what they have to do, for the time being they have to apply the legislation in force,” Dragnea stated. Asked if that means that local authorities should hike taxes by 16 per cent, Dragnea answered: “Yes. We will come up with a law that would give them the possibility to hike them or not or to return them to their previous levels.”  He added that the ordinance will have to wait because at the time of the government meeting the law that allowed the government to issue ordinances was not promulgated. Asked what will happen with those that already paid local taxes at the start of the month and whether they will have to return in order to pay the difference, Dragnea answered: “No. The government decision on hiking local taxes was published at the end of 2012. Local administrations have to respect the legislation in force, no matter what it is.”

 

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