>Any tax you can do, I can do flatter…


The Sofia Weekly carries the following story about the GERB party of Sofia’s mayor Boyko Borissov, suggesting that free market fiscal populism centring on flat taxation as magic bullet for all economic woes is alive and well in SE Europe. The package seems an attempt to outbid the current Socialist/centrist-liberal coalition’s recently passed 10% flat tax package. Despite Sofia’s chronic rubbish disposal problems, Boyko Borissov seems set to romp home in the poll to run the nation’s capital ahead of a Socialist, far-right and centre-right unity candidates- the latter just agreed by the largest two squabbling remnants of the old Union of Democratic Forces. It will be interesting to see whether GERB can repeat the trick in national elections with flat tax as their main selling point. So far the tactic has garnered large but ultimately insufficient support for centre-right parties trying this tack in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Bulgaria’s GERB Party Wants 7% Flat Tax

Bulgaria’s self-proclaimed centre-right party GERB presented on Wednesday its ambitious economic agenda for the 2009 parliamentary polls, which includes a 7% flat tax rate and massive privatisation of state assets.The party of Sofia mayor Boyko Borissov, who styles himself as the biggest opponent of the country’s ruling three-way coalition, was founded last year and previously had no cohesive economic programme. In addition to arguing for a lower flat tax than the 10% that the current cabinet plans to adopt starting next year, the party’s plan includes a monthly tax-exempt minimum of BGN 1000. The average monthly wage in Bulgaria in the second quarter of the year was BGN 406.Should GERB win the elections and complete its four-year term, its policies can bring a doubling of monthly wages, which could reach as high as BGN 1500-2000, party economist Stoyan Mavrodiev told reporters.Another key feature of its economic agenda is privatising all state assets in which the state has a majority stake, which includes a bank, the postal company, coal mines, several power stations and tobacco monopoly Bulgartabak, among others. Furthermore, key parts of infrastructure, such as motorways, airports, ports and bridges over the Danube should be given out on concession, while the state should step out of health insurance and healthcare, which should become private, according to the programme.That would allow the cabinet to reduce the annual budget to the equivalent of 30% of gross domestic product (GDP), as opposed to the current 40%.”

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