House minority backs income tax exemption
Minority leader Danilo Suarez on Wednesday said the minority bloc would support the move to remove income tax for earners of P30,000 and below although it would cost the government some P27 billion in revenue loss.
But where to get the money to plug in the revenue hole?
“We’ll get it from water,” Suarez said.
In a press briefing, the Quezon representative said he would push for the campaign promise of his ally, defeated presidential candidate and former vice president Jejomar Binay, to remove income tax for earners of P30,000 and below.
Suarez said to plug in the expected P27 billion in revenue loss due to this measure, he would urge the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to generate revenue for government by paying for the water it obtains from the watersheds.
He said the MWSS usually gets and distributes this water for free.
“During the campaign, our candidate Binay said he will remove income tax from those that are receiving P30,000 and below. We here, as minority, would like to pursue that. If you will impose that, there will be a tax loss of P27 billion. We have to come out with a source,” Suarez said.
“We’ll get it from the water. Right now, water for drinking is a free service, and Manila Water just distribute it. The National Capital Region is fast growing and we’ll be needing water, and unfortunately, there’s only one source of water — Quezon province,” Suarez said.
Suarez said he would file a bill to amend the charter of the MWSS so that the government’s chief agency on water services would pay for the water it obtains from Quezon province rather than distribute it for free.
“Quezon province, that’s where we get our water na ginagamit pangaraw-araw (used daily). Walang bayad yan (It is free). I think if we amend the charter, we can assure that the water make revenues for government to cover up for the deficiency if we will impose the P30,000 and below tax exemption,” Suarez said.
For his part, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said he would oppose any move to put any pass on provision in the proposed measure that would allow water providers to pass on the costs to the consumers.
Suarez’s ally in the United Nationalist Alliance, Binay, made a central platform of his campaign a promise to remove income tax for earners P30,000 and below to increase the take-home pay of the ordinary employees. He said the revenue loss could be plugged in by cracking down on smuggling.
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