OECD Says SYRIZA Taxes Slowing Greece’s Comeback

FILE - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, right, welcomes Angel Gurría, Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), prior their meeting in Athens, on Monday, April 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Greek Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras’ boast he’s bringing recovery from a more than 8 1/2-year economic and austerity crisis is being undercut by an avalanche of taxes he imposed after swearing he wouldn’t, bringing the corporate rate to 29 percent.

That was the assessment of the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in two surveys, one on business taxes and the other about growth prospects of its 36 members.

Focusing on Greece five months after the end of 326 billion euros ($371.55 billion) and the country still unable to return to the markets, the OECD noted that the 29 percent corporate rate is far above the members’ average of 21.4 percent, making the country uncompetitive as Tsipras wants to lure foreign investors – while hard-core elements in his party do not.

The only higher rates are in the advanced industrial and economic countries such as France (34.4 percent), Germany (29.8 percent) and Belgium (29.6 percent), the business newspaper Naftemporiki said of the findings.

Regional European Union countries near Greece have far lower rates, with Romania at 16 percent and Bulgaria, where many Greek businesses have moved, set it at only 10 percent. Bordering Turkey, which is not in the EU, is at 19 percent.

Greece recorded the biggest increase in taxes over the 10-year period from 2007-2017 and now ranks seventh in the world in terms of overall taxes that were implemented in combination with big pay cuts, slashed pensions and worker firings, decimating scores of thousands of lives.

Reneging on anti-austerity promises, Tsipras buried Greeks under taxes as part of conditions to get a third bailout – he said he wouldn’t seek it – of 86 billion euros ($98.02 billion).