Should the incoming Marcos administration make way for new taxes for the purpose of boosting government revenue?
Economist-congressman Joey Salceda of Albay's 2nd district says it depends.
"It depends on the kind of taxes. Not all tax measures are created equal. Some will be good for the common welfare. Others will simply stifle growth," said Salceda, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means.
"As it stands, GDP (gross domestic product) growth alone leaves us very little room to absorb economic and fiscal shocks, such as what we just experienced in Covid-19," he said.
Salceda gave these remarks even as President-elect Bongbong Marcos would have to face a ₱12.03-trillion national debt once the latter officially takes over Malacañang on June 30, 2022.
The Bicolano went on to discuss several ways to raise the level of fiscal space needed to outgrow the national debt.
"The DOF (Department og Finance) Fiscal Consolidation Plan itself is not an exhaustive list of measures that we can enact. That said, we really need to improve revenues if we are going to keep our spending levels, while shock-proofing the budget," he said.
"I have proposed a phased approach to our fiscal strategy. First, fiscal defense to make sure we do no further harm to our fiscal position," Salceda said.
The House leader said that this phase involves moratoria on personnel spending, and a stop to new major tax exemptions.
"Second is fiscal consolidation, which I mean to be strengthening the enforcement and implementation of current tax laws through innovation, internal reform. Third is fiscal expansion, which would involve new tax measures," Salceda further said.
All in all, he said that these moves would give the country "some room for adjustment to recover first from Covid-19 before we impose new taxes".