Questioned lawmaker ‘willing’ to forego tax break for autos
Santo Domingo.- Santiago province senator Julio Cesar Valentin, in an apparent fit of transparency, on Thursday called for the phase-out of the tax exemptions on vehicles provided to lawmakers, after a study found that Dominican Republic is one of just three Latin America countries where legislators still get the irritating privilege which even diplomats in other nations don’t obtain.
Nonetheless Valentin said he’s opposed to scrapping the tax break radically, because in his view when that occurs, it’s not successful, “so I propose that an exemption be granted to the legislators elected in 2016 and eliminate them totally by 2020.”
He cited the case of Honduras, Uruguay and Bolivia, whose congresses rationalize spending and only the lawmakers from the country’s interior who stay in the capital get per diem, lodging and fuel. “Legislators can very well travel by private car or public transport.
As to the elimination of the slush fund known as ‘barrilito’ (little barrel) as most sectors demand, the lower Chamber reportedly takes steps to do just that, which Valentin affirms that although he prefers not to receive the RD$900,000, “democracy should pay for the work performed by representatives on the tables of public consultation and airfares for international experts to come and lecture in the Santiago Forum "think to propose."
"Those 900,000 pesos, I’d rather not have them and I told that to Cristina (Lizardo, Senate president). Now when I bring an expert to speak as the Education Ministry or the President may bring, I also as a senator can bring an expert in a subject that province and pay their fare," the lawmaker said.
Valentin figures on a list of lawmakers who used the tax break to sell to third parties which then imported exotic vehicles, which according to barrigaverde.net, meant lost revenue of RD$50.8 million for government coffers.