Monti's Civic Choice platform promises tax cuts

Financial cover to be provided by fight against evasion

Monti's Civic Choice platform promises tax cuts

Rome, February 7 - The election manifesto of outgoing Premier Mario Monti's Civic Choice platform includes reductions to income tax and the regional levy on businesses, it emerged Thursday. The leader of Italy's technocrat government, an economist, says he would slash income tax (IRPEF) by over 15 billion euros by the end of the next parliament starting from taxpayers in the low- and middle-income bands should he win the upcoming elections on February 24 and 25. He also intends halving the regional business tax (IRAP) on private-sector companies by 2017, with a saving of over 11 billion euros for businesses. These two measures would be covered by funds recovered in the fight against tax evasion. Monti has also confirmed his plan to extend tax breaks on the new IMU property levy on primary residences. Other proposals contained in the manifesto include introducing a new kind of permanent job contract confirming existing social-security benefits for employees but costing employers less; tax reductions for companies employing young people and women; and new measures in favour of paternity leave, child care and care for the elderly. In the event of election victory, Monti says he would also sell off State property to the tune of 130 billion euros over the course of the next parliament, which is scheduled to run until 2018. The premier has instead ruled out introducing a much-contested wealth tax or further pension reform given unpopular changes to the system made by his present government. Meanwhile he has promised an increase in spending on education to the tune of nearly 8 billion euros over five years and the "rationalisation" of spending in the health sector. Monti took office in November 2011 in an attempt to shore up Italy's struggling economy at the peak of the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone. He is now leading a centrist and largely Catholic formation of reformers that is currently polling around 13%, behind the centre-left coalition led by Pier Luigi Bersani's Democratic Party (PD), followed by a centre-right bloc led by ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) of Genoa comedian Beppe Grillo.

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