Greece Rushes Through Another Property Tax
12 September 2011
After convening a special parliament the embattled and downtrodden Greek government has announced another new property tax, which seems to be aimed as much as convincing its financial saviours that it is doing enough to meet its targets on reducing the budget deficit, as it is about actually reducing the deficit.
Greece is in the middle of being bailed out, but the bailers (the EU, ECB and IMF) have said that they will cut the money pipeline unless Greece does more to meet the targets the aid is contingent on.
In order to meet those targets the country needs to raise 2 billion euros in the remainder of this year. Faced with the prospect of cutting short, and after a meeting between the EC, IMF to decide its eligibility for further aid broke up in dispute over asking Greece to do more, Greece has enacted the new tax.
"We need about EUR2 billion and an bit for us to cover our goals" [for this year], Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said, insisting the government would meet its deficit goals of EUR17.1 billion in 2011 and EUR14.9 billion next year.
"We had to find something that is fair, something that will be accepted by the community.. something that can be implemented quickly, that will produce results immediately," he added. "The only measure that has all those characteristics, that can be universally applied, but which that is just with social characteristics, is a special property tax."
Venizelos said the tax would average about EUR4 per square meter, ranging between EUR0.50 and EUR10 depending on the neighbourhood and be collected as an addition to monthly electricity bills.