Rome

Letta says govt needed to reform IMU, left and right spar

'If we fall, everyone has to pay tax'

Letta says govt needed to reform IMU, left and right spar

Rome, August 12 - The embattled parties that make up Italy's coalition government were quick to trade jabs Monday after Premier Enrico Letta said over the weekend that if the government falls everyone will be saddled with the loathed IMU property tax. Abolishing the tax was a key political platform of three-time premier Silvio Berlusconi, who rallied to second place in February elections to force an uncomfortable alliance between his center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party and the majority Democratic Party (PD) after two months of parliamentary gridlock. The PdL has threatened to pull its needed support from the government if their campaign promise is not upheld, while in the meantime IMU payments have been postponed through September. Speaking in Azerbaijan on Sunday, Letta said that tanking the government would only ensure that IMU stays in place since "you need a government and parliament in order to make reforms". Regional Affairs Minister Graziano del Rio, from the center left, said the government "will find a solution" but would not fold to the PdL's call for an outright ban, something that Letta "has never talked about," according to the La Repubblica daily on Monday. PdL House whip Renato Brunetta disagreed. "Judging Letta's statements...it's clear that the IMU tax on primary residences will be abolished and that there will be a comprehensive reform of taxes on real estate," Brunetta told La Repubblica. Letta has pledged the issue of the unpopular tax would be resolved by the end of the month to cool the firestorm sparked last week by Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni. In a list of nine hypothetical reforms, the former deputy governor of the Bank of Italy said it would not be fair to eliminate IMU, adding that the country cannot afford to lose the billions in revenue it generates.

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