The Labour Party finance spokesperson Joan Burton has fired the first salvo of what is likely to be a bitterly contested election debate on taxation with a promise that Labour will not be increasing tax rates for individuals earning less than €100,000.
Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Ms Burton slammed the current scenario in which she said Ireland was now such a high-tax country that hundreds of thousands of ordinary PAYE workers were paying rates of tax that would be "more appropriate for the super-rich''.
The qualified accountant said that, under the new Finance Bill, individuals earning just over €30,000 and couples earning more than €60,000 were "now taxed at 48 per cent" -- comprising the 41 per cent rate of income tax and 7 per cent Universal Social Charge. When PRSI is factored in, struggling families are now paying 52 per cent of their wages in taxes and levies.
Ms Burton admitted Labour had planned to introduce a higher tax rate for individuals earning over €100,000 and €200,000 for couples.
But she said Fianna Fail had taken these Labour proposals and "applied them to ordinary working families".
Following the Budget, 132,000 lower-paid workers entered the tax net, whilst an extra 84,000 PAYE workers now pay tax at the higher rate.
Ms Burton warned: "If PAYE workers see themselves as being the sacrificial victims of the tax increases, there will be an absolute feeling of revolt."