The president of the MR Georges-Louis Bouchez defended tooth and nail Thursday, in a reaction to Belga, the tax shift set up by the coalition MR-N-VA-CD & V-Open Vld after the elections of 2014.
The financing of the tax shift and its fallout has once again been severely criticized by Ecolo and the PS after the publication in La Libre of a likely increasing deficit which may well force the future federal government to make delicate budgetary choices.
The analysis of the PS and Ecolo is “totally false”, according to Georges-Louis Bouchez. “We have funded social security better with the tax shift than if it had not taken place,” said the Montois.
He mentions, among other things, the benefits of a “transfer from taxation to polluting and unhealthy behaviors”, as well as the equilibrium endowment and the spinoffs from the creation of new jobs. According to him, the tax shift has facilitated “a net and direct creation of 55,000 jobs”.
“The assessment of the tax shift is done every day via the figures we have”, including the historically low unemployment rate experienced by the country at the end of 2019 (5.4% in the 3rd quarter), he continues.
Domestic employment had increased by some 59,000 units in 2016, according to the corresponding annual report of the BNB, an increase in which the tax shift would have played a role, among other things. A year ago, the BNB estimated job creation at 59,000 units in 2018, after 65,000 new jobs in 2017.
Thursday’s passing of arms is not trivial in the current context of negotiations for real negotiations for the formation of a federal government, almost nine months after the elections. Via press release, PS president Paul Magnette accuses the previous government of leaving “a dramatic deficit that threatens social security” and demands “an audit of the tax shift (…) before forming a government”.
“Instead of rowdy declarations, the PS and Ecolo had better agree to sit at the negotiating table where we could have fascinating debates on taxation”, concludes George-Louis Bouchez, ex-royal informant (in duet with Joachim Coens).
The BNB also warned last December that with unchanged policy, the Belgian budget deficit would increase considerably in the coming years. The National Bank then forecast a deficit of 2.1% of GDP for 2020. Good news on Thursday, however, according to the Planning Bureau: the growth of the Belgian economy should stand at 1.4% in 2020, slightly up compared to previous forecasts of last September (1.1%).