Mitsotakis Says He’d Cap Greeks Taxes, Social Security Levies

ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Yiannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS – Without giving any details or specifics, major opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he’d put a ceiling on tax and social security contributions if he comes to power in the next elections, now scheduled for on on before Oct. 20, 2019.

With his Conservatives having double-digit leads over the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose popularity plunged when he reneged on anti-austerity promises, Mitsotakis has stepped up is verbal assault and vowing to roll back the government’s priorities even though he too would face scrutiny from international creditors who put up 326 billion euros ($402.53 billion) in three bailouts.

Speaking with foreign correspondents, he said the sum total of tax rates and pension system contributions acts as a significant counter-incentive for declaring income, among other reasons, the business newspaper Naftemporiki reported.

But he wouldn’t say what that ceilings would be, depending on annual taxable income, and instead noted that the current maximum level of 80 percent is too high.

Treading delicately as he was being pressed, he said if he comes to power that his government gets enough what he called “fiscal space,” by either exceeding the already high 3.5 percent annual primary budget surplus as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or by reducing fiscal targets “in agreement with creditors” – 80 percent of any such surplus will be funneled towards axing taxes and social security contributions.

Mathematically speaking, that is unattainable now and many analysts said it can’t be reached, giving him a plausible out from his promise if it doesn’t happen. If it did, he said the remaining 20 percent would be on social spending he didn’t identify either.