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Angara’s patience running low on tax reform call

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Administration lawmaker Senator Sonny Angara is grumbling more and more about the government’s inability–if not unwillingness–to grant lowered tax rates for ordinary workers by tweaking the existing income tax brackets.

“I’m still pushing for ‪tax reform despite the clock ticking and political season fast approaching,” said the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) stalwart, who at the same time clarified his intentions for pursuing the measure by noting, “I’m not a candidate next year”.

“We are talking about as little as P800 a month for a new public school teacher. Ipagkakait pa ba natin ‘yan?” asked Angara, who was part of Team PNoy administration slate that lorded it over in the 2013 senatorial race.

Angara reckoned that the salary bump received by workers via the salary standardization law won’t really add to their purchasing power if the same, archaic tax rates are still being followed.

“Because we haven’t indexed our tax brackets/tax rates since 1997, a new public school teacher’s take-home pay (in real peso terms, meaning adjusted for inflation) is even less today than in 1997 as a result of being in a higher tax bracket due to inflation–this is despite an increase in their salary through the salary standardization law,” he explained.

“Is that progress?” Angara said as if addressing the Aquino administration. “These are real lives and real people. Government must offer real solutions to regular people otherwise growth is just a facade masking inequalities.”

The politiko stressed that the government also stands to benefit from such tax reform since the workers “will definitely spend the money”.

He likewise reminded the administration of its problem with underspending despite having billions of unused public funds last year. (Randy K. Ortega)

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