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ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Proposed car taxes cause public uproar

Finance Minister Brigita Schmögnerová has advocated raising taxes on cars and motorcycles in order to compensate the state budget for proposed corporate and personal income tax cuts. Car owners will now pay anywhere between 500 and 40,000 Slovak crowns ($12 and $1,000) next year for the privilege of using their vehicles. Tax rates are dependent on the age and engine size of the vehicle, with cars under 900 cc and older than eight years being taxed 500 crowns, and cars over three litres and less than four years being slapped with a 20,000 crown tax. Sport utility vehicles will be hit the hardest, at 40,000 crowns.

Schmögnerová says the new taxes will bring an additional 2.5 billion crowns into the budget, while lowering corprate tax from 40% to 35% and cutting individual income tax burdens will reduce state budget income by 6.1 billion crowns. The auto tax proposal, however, has been opposed by three of the four ruling coalition parties - the SDK, the SOP and the Hungarian Coalition. Schmögnerová has reacted angrily, saying that critics of her proposal should come up with another way of replacing the lost revenues.

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