O'Connor calls for a tiered levy on €100k-plus earners
SIPTU chief and president of ICTU Jack O'Connor yesterday called for the introduction of a tiered levy on all incomes over €100,000 and the creation of a Strategic Investment Bank to get the economy moving.
In his address at the Jim Connell festival in Crossakiel, Co Meath, Mr O'Connor said radical thinking "outside the box" was desperately needed if economic and social catastrophe was to be avoided.
Mr O'Connor proposed a new investment levy on high earners to generate jobs, which would operate as an investment fund rather than a traditional tax.
He said: "A further €1bn per annum could be raised by a tiered levy on all incomes over €100,000 per annum. A conventional levy would appear to be precluded by Fine Gael's no tax increase commitment to the better off, which is reflected in the Programme for Government.
"Use the revenue generated to create venture capital funds administered by the Strategic Bank liaising with Enterprise Ireland," he added.
Mr O'Connor said those hit by the levy would, in time, receive a dividend and ultimately hope to get their money back.
"A €3bn venture capital fund comprised of €2bn from the NPRF and €1bn from the levy would increase investment in the economy by 16 per cent this year, without accounting for what additional amounts could be raised through additional borrowing and risk sharing with private investors.
"The same should be done again next year and at least €2bn should be penned in for 2013," he said.
He said that while there would be the usual opposition to proposals to tax the rich, the chance for them to get their money back meant his proposals at least deserved consideration.
"Those opposed to taxing the wealthy always cite the negative implications for retaining such people in Ireland. This risk would be reduced if they could be assured it would only last for a limited period, say three to five years max," he said.
He concluded that such high earners would stand to lose an awful lot more in a disorderly default.
"People on high incomes would doubtlessly complain but they would get the money back. In any event, they will lose a great deal more in a disorderly default," he said.