AD issues proposals for pre-budget document

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Budget 2008
“The major problems hitting our population are the spiralling rise in inflation and the consequent loss of spending power for a good chunk of Maltese and Gozitan families, whose salaries verge dangerously on the poverty line,” said Alternativa Demokratika Chairperson, Arnold Cassola.

“Of course, it is a fact that a number of factors that are leading to this enormous rise in the cost of living originate from abroad and the Maltese government has very little power over them,” continued Prof. Cassola. “However, there are measures that the Maltese government could take in order to alleviate the situation for the hard hit Maltese families.”

AD also commented on the difficulty of obtaining data to make accurate costings of budget proposals. The Ministry of Finance should put at the disposal of all Maltese all the information necessary to enable civil society to cost budget proposals and to make informed opinions on the various proposals put forward. Arnold Cassola said, “The data the Ministry of Finance has belongs to all the people and not only to the government and should thus be disclosed.”

Alternattiva Demokratika is proposing the following for inclusion in the pre-Budget document the following. AD will be making additional proposals in the run up to Budget Day later this year.

1. The creation of different bands with regards to the electricity surcharge in order to reward those households and commercial establishments that take the initiative to avoid excessive use of energy. Those who do not should be subject to a higher rate of surcharge.

2. To reduce dependence on oil for water production measures the use of rainwater for consumption should be encouraged through a partial or total exemption from payment of the surcharge on water consumption to those households/commercial enterprises whose consumption of mains water is low.

3. To improve the quality of life of Maltese and Gozitans, though a good number of quarries are already being utilized as landfills for construction waste we propose that exhausted quarries are rehabilitated and converted into rain water reservoirs or into nature parks.

4. Applying the present 15% tax rate on part-time work on a wider part-time income band: from the present limit of 3000 Malta liri to 12000 euros.

5. Extending this 15% part time rate to pensioners re-employed by Government and other parastatal bodies. Government pensioners have been till now excluded from this measure.

6. Government should take up the challenge to transform the energy crisis into an opportunity to channel custom towards public transport. Investment in an efficient public transport system will at this particular point in time reduce heavy reliance on private cars, thereby decreasing congestion on our roads as well as improving the quality of our air. Renewal of the Public Transport fleet of buses to run on methane gas and electricity and electric minibuses as well as the re-organization of the Public Transport system in Malta in order to introduce more routes and increase the frequency of service. Long term planning in this area is also a must. This is not just an environmental matter. Increased use of public transport will increase the spending power of our families by releasing monies spent on fuel and cars for other purposes.

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