POLITICS

Congress Debates Taxing Chile’s Super Rich

SANTIAGO – Opposition members presented a new bill that would impose a 2.5 percent asset tax on the “super wealthy.” The goal is to obtain additional funds to finance the country’s Emergency Basic Income program. Over 30 representatives have expressed their support for the bill.

Legislators are looking for ways to fund the Emergency Basic Income program that helps those who have lost their income as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Those in the political parties that oppose the Piñera administration have presented a new bill in this regard: it would impose a 2.5 percent asset tax on the “super wealthy,” those who have more than US$22.5 million in assets.

The bill would revise the Constitution to allow the state to impose this one-time wealth tax. The head of the Congressional Finance Commission, Daniel Núñez of the Communist party, said that if the bill were to take effect,  the state would collect approximately US$6 billion, which would then be used to help those in need.

This bill was formally presented by representative Karol Cariola of the Communist Party, after being originally proposed by the Communist Party in a signed letter that was given to President Sebastían Piñera in late May. Unsatisfied with the resulting dialogue, the party forged ahead with the bill.

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Who Supports the Bill?

As of this writing, neither the president nor his coalition have spoken about the bill, but Congress approved it 85 to 19, and currently it is awaiting further discussions in the proper committees. Representative Cariola, said “The proposal is decent, we’re just waiting for the president to answer.”

Meanwhile, Camila Vallejo of the Communist Party has said that the bill has received support from most of the leaders of the opposition parties, and that she is also hopeful that it will receive support from members of the ruling coalition.

Officially, the bill has the support of over 30 members of the opposition and from different parties – from the parties that typically occupy the center, like the Cristian Democrats and the Radical Party, to the more extreme parties, like Democratic Revolution and the Communist Party. It has also received support from the Workers’ United Center of Chile, a federation of workers unions from across the country.

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