Since a few days, there is PR campaign (it’s started with the Finance Minister, then the Prime Minister saturday) around… land and inheritance taxes.
It’s an old issue in Thailand… kind of a legislative Loch Ness. No government has managed to pass such laws.
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva pledged Saturday that his government would move forward with determination in pushing controversial land and inheritance tax legislation for passage by members of parliament in the House of Representatives.
Mr. Abhisit told journalists that his government would move ahead on both tax bills simultaneously because both are part of the tax reforms being undertaken by his administration.
However, details remain to be considered, Mr. Abhisit said, and Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij is making such a study.
Armed with the confidence that his government can explain to those losing benefits from those laws after their approval, Mr. Abhisit said the land tax bill may not be overly complex because the idea was proposed long ago, but it must be polished to make it fairer to landholders.
The land tax might be exempted for those in need of basic housing but not for those owning multiple and large plots of land, but not putting them to use, Mr. Abhisit said, saying that taxes should be collected at progressive rates, with more tax liability for more valuable parcels of land.
This is to create a more level playing field society, the prime minister suggested, so that there is economic encouragement for making unused land available to people who want to use it.
“Such a (land tax) law may be obstructed by wealthy people,” Mr. Abhisit said, adding that he believed those affected would understand the land tax must be collected because land distribution is not fair as many wealthy just retain land for financially speculative purposes, but the government must solve land problem for the poor.
As many major landowners in Thailand are politicians and capitalists, Mr. Abhisit said this shows that his government is not doing things for its own purpose but for the benefit of the society. (TNA)
Indeed such laws “may be obstructed by wealthy people“. Like it was before.
It’s important to remember that most of the land is owned by old families… who are likely to be supporters of the current government. Conservators. It would be strange to see Abhisit going after them.
Let’s remember too that the royal family is a huge land owner…
Furthermore, there is clearly a problem of timing : it’s not on the verge of a major global recession that such ambitious project can be launched. It’s dangerous to shake the system during a hurricane.
Abhisit should of course have the benefit of the doubt, but I think it’s nothing more than a political red-herring. His sentence is clear : “it shows that the governement…“… Yeah, it shows. 😉
The forces behind the government are so conservative that it would be surreal to see those forces pushing for new taxes.
Unless some of them, smarter, are thinking that it would be good to release some steam (through some fiscal pain for themselves)… in order to… keep their powers.
A pain for a gain.