IN SHORT

Fico: Flat tax is unjust

THE FLAT tax of 19 percent in Slovakia is unjust and is obviously meant to benefit rich people and companies, according to the opposition Smer party leader Robert Fico.

Fico said on Slovak Television's political talk show on May 28 that it was therefore unacceptable to Smer.

As an example, Fico mentioned several banks and monopolies owned by foreign companies that were able to make a profit from their investments in the Slovak market within only a few years.

"We do not agree with a situation where a company which makes a profit of Sk10-20 billion (€267-533 million) per year pays only 19 percent tax, when at the same time, the rightist government is forcing ordinary people to pay more for energy, food, medicines and so on, due to increases in VAT to 19 percent," said Fico.

The Smer chairman suggested raising taxes to 25 percent for monopolies, and reducing VAT to less than 10 percent for selected items such as food, medicinal drugs, services encouraging the development of education, science and research.

However, Fico's opponent on the show, Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) leader Pavol Hrušovský, whose party was a member of the governing coalition until February 2006, insisted that the flat tax should be maintained.

"As regards other taxes, for example VAT, political parties should discuss this issue after the election," Hrušovský said. He added that KDH supports reducing the flat-tax rate to 14 percent if the economy proves strong enough.

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