Monday, January 29, 2007

italian finance minister says taxes won't decline again until 2009

The Finance Minister, Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, has stated that--notwithstanding higher than expected revenues and the anti-evasion provisions included in recent tax legislation--he does not expect a further reduction in taxes until at least 2009. In the meantime, increased revenues will be used to reduce the country's not inconsiderable deficit, and to provide incentives for a sluggish although not yet crisis economy. A package of "liberalization" measures, allowing (e.g.) the sale of motor fuels in supermarkets and a substantial increase in taxi licenses, is meanwhile moving ahead, as is a plan to restructure Alitalia, the national carrier, to be more competitive.

In an unrelated development the Constitutional Court has exercised an American-style jurisdiction in order to hold unconstitutional an American-style rule. The issue concerns the so-called Legge Pecorella, which would have prohibited the Government side from appealing acquittals in criminal cases. There being no juries as such under the civil law system, acquittals and convictions are historically appealable by the losing side in a criminal proceeding. The proposal to prohibit Government appeals had been taken by many commentators as a sign that Italy was moving toward an American-style, or at the least hybrid, system of criminal justice, with other changes perhaps on the way. Looks like they will have to wait.


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