Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of Law and Justice (PiS), currently the party in Poland with the most popular support, has announced that if he becomes prime minister he would raise taxes on the wealthiest Poles, tax stock-exchange transactions and introduce punitive taxes on employers to force them to raise wages.
In an interview with Rzeczpospolita, Mr Kaczyński said Polish employees are paid too little. “The state must bring pressure on employers to increase salaries by, for example, introducing punitive taxes [on employers who pay too low salaries],” said the PiS leader.
“Do we want our society to be permanently divided into a small group of beneficiaries while the rest are just laborers?” Mr Kaczyński asked.
Mr Kaczyński wants the highest-earning Poles to pay a 39 percent tax rate compared to the current maximum 32 percent. The PiS leader also wants a 1 percent tax on financial transactions on the primary market of the stock exchange and 0.5 percent on the secondary market. In addition, Mr Kaczyński is proposing a 1 percent revenue tax on large supermarkets.
The last time PiS was in power, from 2005 to 2007, it was often criticized for focusing too heavily on corruption. But the issue is still a priority for Mr Kaczyński, who said corrupt businessmen “have cause to fear” if PiS comes back to power.
PiS also says it wants to see domestic firms treated better. “Poles see the dishonest competition and the lack of symmetry when it comes to dealing with foreign companies and Polish companies,” he said. “Every Pole can see that a large corporation is allowed more. That is unacceptable.”
In response, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that Mr Kaczyński “has the right to his pessimistic visions. I want people to be happy.”
Defending his economic record, Mr Tusk said he had rightly predicted that Poland would survive the crisis without going into recession. A September Homo Homini poll had PiS with 34 percent support while Mr Tusk’s Civic Platform had 21 percent. Next was the Democratic Left Alliance, with 15 percent support and the Polish People’s Party with 6 percent.
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