Park Geun-hye opposes tax cuts for high incomes

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Park Geun-hye opposes tax cuts for high incomes

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Park Geun-hye

Park Geun-hye, former chairwoman of the ruling Grand National Party, said during a plenary session at the National Assembly yesterday that Koreans who earn more than 88 million won a year ($77,704) should not receive tax cuts that are supposed to go into effect in 2013.

“I feel it is desirable to keep the current income tax rate for the highest income class as it is and to lower corporate tax rates for the highest standard of assessment as scheduled,” said Park.

The income tax revision that was passed by the National Assembly’s Strategy and Finance Committee last year reduces the tax rate for those earning more than 88 million a year from the current 35 percent to 33 percent starting Jan. 1, 2013. Corporate taxes are to be lowered from 22 percent to 20 percent for businesses with taxable profits of 200 million won and higher.

By expressing support for one tax cut but not both, Park was seemingly striking a compromise between conservatives, who want both cuts, and liberals who say the GNP only favor the wealthy.

The plans to cut income and corporate taxes were proposed as part of the Lee Myung-bak administration’s stimulus package last December, but were postponed until 2013. The tax revision has been one of the top issues debated in the National Assembly, along with President Lee’s four-rivers restoration project.

Park, seen as a strong candidate for the next presidential race, said the government’s fiscal health had weakened and income imbalances had increased since the global financial crisis.

“Keeping the income tax rates for those who make more than 88 million won a year the same can help the government’s financial health and also enable the government to shrink the gap between income classes,” said Park.

The lawmaker added that corporate taxes should be lowered as stated in the tax revision.

“Lowering corporate tax rates is important for growth and creating jobs,” Park said. “Jobs are most important to our economy and jobs can only be created when there is growth.

“Businesses have already set up their investment plans for the past two years since the tax law revision and if we change this now they will be forced to change their plans. Enforcing the corporate tax cut will keep consistency in the government’s policies, and we will also gain the upper hand in the competition to cut corporate taxes with other countries. I think this is what we need for bigger investments and more jobs.”

Park cited Taiwan, Singapore and Germany as examples of countries that had lowered corporate tax rates to encourage business.

In response to Park’s comments, Minister of Strategy and Finance Yoon Jeung-hyun said there were no changes in the government’s taxation plan.


By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]
Related Korean Article

“법인세는 예정대로 내려야”


한나라당 박근혜(얼굴) 전 대표가 15일 정부의 고소득층 감세 계획이 철회돼야 한다는 입장을 처음으로 밝혔다. 박 전 대표는 국회 기획재정위원회 에서 “소득세 최고세율은 현행 세율(35%)을 유지하고, 법인세 최고세율은 예정대로 인하하는 게 바람직하다”고 말했다.

  박 전 대표는 윤증현 기획재정부 장관에게 “이미 8800만원 이하 구간에선 모두 (세금) 인하를 해 줬기 때문에 최고 소득구간에 대해선 현행 유지가 필요하다”며 “유념해 달라”고 당부했다.

박 전 대표는 법인세 최고세율(2억원 초과)에 대해서는 예정대로 2012년부터 22%에서 20%로 내리자고 주장했다. 그는 “법인세 인하는 성장과 일자리 창출을 위해 중요하다”고 말했다.


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