Final Word from Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mirek Topolánek won unanimous cabinet approval for his tax and social reforms yesterday, but doubts remain about what exactly will be passed into law. Topolánek backed away from his demand that the package be passed without changes. MPs will now have the chance to add to or subtract from the bills during debate. Businesses will again be left in the dark until the last minute, and those with the better lobbyists will have an advantage. What's missing from Topolánek's reform agenda is a philosophy on what should be taxed and what should be exempted. Even Vlastimil Tlustý, who favors eliminating all but 30-60 of the 363 exceptions, fails to explain the basis for deciding which magic 30-60 to spare. The first step toward transparency would be for the government to issue a list in plain Czech of who is getting all those tax breaks and how much they are costing the rest of us.[Czech Republic PM prime minister premier deductions taxation public finance]


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