Italian employers oppose Berlusconi's line on property tax

Scrapping IMU not priority, says Confindustria

Italian employers oppose Berlusconi's line on property tax

Rome, May 7 - Italian industrial employers' confederation Confindustria waded into a high-voltage political debate on Tuesday when President Giorgio Squinzi said cutting labour taxes was more important than scrapping the IMU property tax. IMU is at the centre of the political tensions for Premier Enrico Letta's fledgling left-right government as former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party is threatening to pull its support and sink the executive unless the widely despised tax is abolished. Berlusconi also wants the 2012 revenues collected from IMU returned to taxpayers to respect the key pledge he made in the run-up to February's inconclusive general election. Letta has said that June's IMU payments would be suspended as part of a review of the tax, but he has not promised to abolish it completely. "It is absolutely more important to intervene on labour taxes than on house ones," Squinzi said. "The priority at the moment is jobs and regaining growth". Reducing labour taxes is seen by many as a good way to promote job creation, with almost three million Italians unemployed and close to four in 10 young people on the dole as the country endures its longest recession in 20 years. Last week OECD Chief Economist Pier Carlo Padoan said that: "if the priorities are growth and jobs, the first thing to cut is labour taxes... Reducing labour taxes is more important than reducing IMU". IMU was instituted among a series of austerity measures under former premier Mario Monti's emergency technocrat government to restore health to Italy's public finances. Abolishing IMU and reimbursing the 2012 revenues from it would create a hole of around eight billion euros in this year's budget.

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