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IN SHORT

Fico: Tax reduction unacceptable

REDUCING DIRECT taxes is absolutely unacceptable, PM Robert Fico said during a speech at the Law Faculty of Comenius University in Bratislava on April 23.

"This Government will not reduce income tax," said Fico. "Income tax for legal entities stands at 19 percent and we find this to be acceptable."

Fico was responding to media reports that said the Finance Ministry was preparing a draft proposal to reduce income tax to 16 percent.

It was the finance minister's advisor, Richard Sulík, who mentioned the possibility of lowering income tax recently on TV Markíza. Fico said he did not know why Sulík said this.

Fico said the current 19-percent flat tax rate was introduced because the state gave up on trying to collect taxes under a more complicated system.

The Finance Ministry released an official statement on April 23 that denies it is preparing a proposal to reduce income taxes. The statement said the ministry's top priorities are fulfilling the Maastricht criteria, introducing the euro on schedule (January 1, 2009), consolidating public finances, reforming tax and customs administration, enhancing the effectiveness of public expenditures and maintaining strict fiscal discipline.

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