New Democracy Offers Beleaguered Greek Middle Class Tax Cuts

New Finance Minister Christos Staikouras speaks during a handover ceremony in Athens, Tuesday, July 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS – Reversing the deliberate overtaxing of the middle class by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, the new government of Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis is pushing its plan to give them tax breaks.

The Finance Ministry’s new administration is finalizing a tax bill also shown to the country’s creditors who will periodically review the economy to make sure fiscal targets are hit as part of 326 billion euros ($367.58 billion) in three bailouts that began in 2010 that kept the country going.

Those ended on Aug. 20, 2018 but Greece still hasn’t been able to make a full return to the markets and Mitsotakis’ plan for tax cuts could be undercut by a barrage of handouts that former Premier and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras made in a frantic, failed bid to get re-elected before being stomped on in July 7 snap elections.

A senior government official told Kathimerini on Wednesday that all of the tax pledges made by Mitsotakis before the election will be included in the bill.

The program that Finance Minister Christos Staikouras received at the July 10 first Cabinet meeting outlines the government’s top priorities, with sources not named telling the paper that Deputy Minister for Taxation Apostolos Vesyropoulos has already drafted the key clauses.

Besides the tax cuts that have already been made public, the bill will also provide for the gradual introduction of compulsory online pricing among enterprises and the adoption of an online tracking system for commodities being transported.

Former SYRIZA finance chief Euclid Tsakalotos admitted the middle class was taxed too much so that the government, in keeping with one of the few Leftist policies it implemented while conceding to the country’s creditors, could help the low-income sector – that Tsipras then planned to tax for the first time before rolling that back as well.

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