Discussions of tax hike go into full swing

Thursday, September 29, 2011 16:41

On Tuesday, September 13, government discussions over a looming tax hike hit full throttle as the Democratic Party of Japan's tax panel kicked off its first meeting to discuss how to gather financial resources to reconstruct the Tohoku region. The government is approximately ¥13 trillion short of the fiscal resources required to rebuild the areas affected by the 3.11 earthquakes and tsunami.

The governmental Tax Commission, led by Finance Minister Jun Azumi, is preparing a proposal to raise taxes for a decade beginning in fiscal 2012, concentrating on the income and corporate tax rates.

The commission is also mulling other possibilities, including a consumption tax hike, and is scheduled to reveal various options. Azumi said Tuesday the government will work to ease some of the burden on taxpayers by selling off some of its assets.

Hirohisa Fujii, head of the DPJ's tax panel, considered a fiscal hawk, also said a tax hike shouldn't be so big that it will cause the public "to bleed."

Azumi also told reporters that it is a "possible option" to use the envisioned tax on carbon emissions, which is set to be introduced within the current fiscal year, as a resource for reconstruction.

Meanwhile, the DPJ’s tax panel is expected to face difficult negotiations because some of the party's members are opposed to a quick tax hike.

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