Minister Peter Burke.

Lower tax to incentivise work – Burke

Minister Peter Burke says he has received a lot of positive feedback following his recent proposal for tax cuts for middle earners.

In a recent published opinion piece in the Irish Independent that he co-wrote with fellow Fine Gael junior ministers Jennifer Carroll MacNeill and Martin Hayden, Minister Burke called for a full-time worker on €52,000 to receive a €1,000 tax relief in the next budget.

The proposal was criticised by fellow coalition members in Fianna Fáil and others, but Minister Burke told the Westmeath Examiner that reaction from the public has reinforced to him the need for more supports for middle earners.

“We are trying to go back to our core values. We want to ensure that enterprise is rewarded and that people who are working hard and contributing to the economy get more benefits for it.

“Inflation is so high, groceries have gone up so much and as had energy costs, as a country we need to be strong in our support for middle income earners, who qualify for minimal state support.”

Deputy Burke says that the PAYE system is “out of kilter, not just with Europe, but the rest of the world”.

“Forty thousand is way too low of an entry point [for the higher tax band of 40%]. If you are on the average wage and you do a bit of overtime or you go for a promotion, you are going to lose almost half that wage back to the exchequer. That’s not where we want to be. We have to be firm in delivering that [tax cuts for middle earners].

“We have put around 6,000 workers into the economy in the past 12 months. In my view that’s because the more you lower the tax base, the more you encourage and incentivise work, and the more income comes into families, which leads to more tax going into the exchequer. I think it is a win-win.”