Dabar populiaru
Published: 24 september 2012 11:06

Conservatives' election program: More progressive taxation and focus on reversing brain drain

Partijos suvažiavimas
BFL/Tomo Lukšio nuotr. / Andrius Kubilius

There's no need to cut the value added tax and provide more tax credits. Profit tax should not be changed, and one should increase progressiveness of the tax system. And talented people can be attracted from neighboring countries, Lithuanian ruling party, the Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats, says in its election program published on Saturday.

During its presentation, the party leader Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said the program differs from others as it contains "not a single vestige of populism."

"We modestly called it the Program of the XVI Government," the prime minister, leading the 15th Cabinet, said.

The prime minister cited The Economist writing about Russia's efforts to influence results of the upcoming Seimas elections.

"Our special services should do their job and defend vital interests of Lithuania. It's not enough to just know that representatives of certain parties visit the Russian Presidential Office and hold consultations on the elections in Lithuania. It’s not enough to know that actions of third countries' special services against Visaginas nuclear power plant are observed in Lithuania. This should not only be known but also prevented. It should be known by all Lithuanian voters and this should be prevented. Those demanding "the truth" should, first of all, demand that truth about key things about Lithuania," Kubilius said.

The program of almost 200 pages also says that taxation of low-income earners should be gradually reduced and social security payments should be capped.

Stressing the fact that they do not propose introducing progressive taxes, the conservatives say that one should gradually increase non-taxable income, and its maximum amount should eventually reach the minimum wage.

As these proposals would cut budget revenues in the short-term, the conservatives suggest compensating them by introducing property and car taxes and lifting various socially-unimportant tax benefits.

The document says profit tax rates will not be changed, and there are not plans to reduce the 21-perent VAT rate.

Talented people are needed for the state's modern progress, the documents also states. "We'll try to attract talents from the Baltic neighbors, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia by proposing great conditions to start business and facilitated conditions for them and their families to receive visas and work permits," the program says.

The conservatives also promise to get back to the issue of name spelling by suggesting a solution respecting European traditions, the Constitution and the status of the state language.

Rebuilding of the Great Synagogue of Vilnius is also one of the stated goals of the Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats.

As regards foreign policy, the party talks about an EU-coordinated policy. "Lithuania will keep businesslike relations with the existing Belarusian regime to the extent that is beneficial for the people of both countries and does not run counter to the EU's position," the party said in its program.

The conservatives believe mutual trust with Russia will grow after the fact of the Soviet occupation is recognized in both countries, Russia stops treating Europe as a an enemy worth being the target of its propaganda, stops building up powerful military capabilities near the borders of Lithuania and Poland, and stops developing unsafe and economically unjustified nuclear projects.

The Seimas elections are scheduled for 14 October.

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