The seven pm news bulletin on Newstalk lead with the claim by Fianna Fail TD Michael McGrath that FG was preparing the people for a u-turn on income tax. Michael McGrath was allowed to give full vent to his CLAIM that the coalition intended to increase income tax in the next budget contrary to the programme for government. Yet Michael Noonan's full statement on the issue in the Dail was not carried. Actually Noonan was quite measured on his comments in the Dail. No prudent Minister for Finance will give hostages to fortune at this stage.
The Minister for Finance actually said that he was not going to rule out any tax initiative, or any tax increase, or any tax reduction, in the light of the state of the country's finances. He also said "I have nothing in mind at present". He also stressed that his approach to income tax would be in accord with the principles of the Programme for Government. Yet Newstalk ran with the FF interpretation.
George Hook has consistently attacked the government on the pension levy. Actually his attacks are ridiculous and over the top. If I interpret Hook correctly the old are being robbed by the government. What utter nonsense. This country has generous tax relief on pension contributions. For higher tax earners like Hook it is 41%. Count your blessings George.
Is it too much to expect a little in return at a time when the country is on its knees? Hook proceeded to lambast Michael Noonan on the issue based on comments he made in the Dail today.
Michael Noonan was actually replying to a question from Laois- Offaly FF TD Sean Fleming. Deputy Fleming appealed to the minister to change the Bill imposing the levy on pension funds, to include ARFs. Hook used this to claim that Noonan was targeting pensions again. In actual fact he stated that he WOULD CONSIDER a levy on the ARFs of the rich.
This is a point for Hook to ponder. The Fair Deal for the old is underfunded to the tune of €400 million. New Minister James Reilly has worked hard to sort out the mess. Yet the Hook viciously and unfairly attacks the government on the issue of the pensions/old.
Turning to Eddie Hobbs: A word of advice-Give a little to save a lot. Alternatively give nothing and lose the lot. Please remember that there is tax relief of 41% for higher earners making pension contributions. There are generous commission rates for those working in the pensions industry. This state is more than generous to those saving for a pension. Most of the money contributed has been invested abroad depriving the country of badly need investment funds. The Irish tax system is actually incentivising investment overseas. Maybe it is time to drop the levy, abolish the tax relief for those earning over €90,000 and slash the tax relief to 30% for those earning less than €90,000. George and Eddie might prefer that. Finally there is no threat to peoples bank deposits.
Is Hook modelling himself on Rush Limbaugh. George you ain't no Rush Limbaugh..