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    Parliament on excise duties

    Today the Sejm is to vote on the legislation on financing thirteenth pensions from the Solidarity Fund, currently functioning as the Solidarity Fund for Supporting People with Disabilities. MEPs are also to adopt a bill increasing excise duties on alcohol and tobacco products by 10 percent from January 1, 2020. Although the opposition claims that both projects are implemented in order to finance election promises from state funds, the government says that not even a zloty earmarked for people with disabilities from the budget will be used for any other purpose.

     

     “The recently re-elected government of the Law and Justice party has barely started its work and is already reaching for citizen’s pockets. This was stated by politicians of the opposition following the vote on the first draft of the amendment raising the excise on cigarettes and alcohol by 10%. The ruling party also stirred up emotions among the opposition, having proposed changes to the solidarity fund for the disabled. While some members of the opposition agreed with the need for raising the excise, but argued that the new funds should be invested in improving the health care, all of them were strongly against any changes in the solidarity fund. Politicians of Law and Justice responded by saying, that the raising of the excise is part of the government’s strategy to prevent health issues connected with drinking alcohol and smoking, while the amendments to the solidarity fund won’t take away a single zloty out of the pockets of the disabled.  

     ”While there is some moral or public justification for the increase in excise duty, that it’s for preserving health and that it will affect those who drink and smoke, robbing the Disabled People’s Support Fund, and worse, the Demographic Reserve Fund, this is a scandal. This means that we are robbing the next generations for the sake of current election promises. We are robbing our children and contributing to the deepening of the demographic crisis”- says Jakub Kulesza, Confederation Party.

     ”The excise duty increase was planned much earlier, I even postulated that this increase is too small, because actually the 10%, given the increase in the minimum wage, is still too little and I think that the discussion concerning the issue should continue. We must remember that the excise tax serves not only budgetary purposes, which is secondary, but the excise tax serves primarily preventive purposes”- says Henryk Kowalczyk, Law and Justice Party.

     

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