Leader of main opposition party in Romania wants IT people taxed like everyone else
People who work in the IT sector should pay taxes like everyone else, the leader of Romania’s biggest opposition party – the National Liberal Party (PNL) said on Saturday, June 1. His statement immediately drew him a lot of criticism.
“I don’t find it normal that IT people don’t pay income tax. IT experts have the highest salaries in Romania. There was a period in which the state wanted to stimulate people to go to the IT area, but now I don’t find it normal, honestly,” PNL leader Ludovic Orban said, according to local Mediafax.
He also exemplified that truck drivers, who work in difficult conditions, pay income taxes while IT experts, who do intellectual work, don’t. “Fiscal neutrality is a fundamental principle. Any income must be taxed,” Orban said, adding that “fiscal facilities turn into privileges.”
Representatives of the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD) were the first to react to Orban’s statement: “They won the elections. They should do it,” former labor minister Lia Olguta Vasilescu wrote on Facebook while current labor minister Marius Budai said that Orban’s statement confirms PSD’s warning that the liberals would come up with new taxes if they won the elections.
PNL won the elections for the European Parliament on May 26 with a score of 27% and is currently negotiating forming new majority in the Romanian Parliament, where the PSD-ALDE coalition has most votes, to overthrow the current Government.
The liberal leader’s statement was also taxed by other opposition parties. “Ludovic, please don’t replace Dragnea (former PSD leader – e.n.)! You thought about taxing IT employees. Ludovic, due to their importance, they weren’t taxed even during the crisis. This made all big IT companies in the world develop research centers in Romania,” former president Traian Basescu wrote on Facebook. “These boys and girls have a chair and a laptop which they can take with them and leave overnight because they carry with them the essential part, their brain,” Basescu added.
The president of the IT committee in the Chamber of Deputies, Catalin Drula, of the Save Romania Union (USR), another big opposition party, said that cutting tax breaks for the IT industry would be an “immense stupidity” as it would cause a chain of negative economic effects, leading to less revenues to the state budget.
The employers’ association in the software industry – ANIS also issued a reaction showing that the tax breaks make the Romanian IT industry competitive compared to other countries and that IT experts would just leave to other EU countries if these facilities disappeared.
About 100,000 people working in the IT sector currently generate almost 6% of Romania’s GDP according to ANIS. Eliminating the tax breaks for IT employees would reduce their net revenues by 10%, which is the current income tax rate in Romania. The average net wages of programmers in Romania is currently close to RON 7,500 (EUR 1,595), the highest of all categories of employees in the local economy.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos/George Calin)