Lawmaker eyes cash transfers funded by taxes on the rich under new Bayanihan law

Lawmaker eyes cash transfers funded by taxes on the rich under new Bayanihan law

A LAWMAKER is batting for a Universal Basic Income (UBI) system as part of the proposed third economic stimulus fund, with those with higher income to be taxed more to help fund this component.

In a statement on Friday, Albay 2nd District Representative Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda said the implementation of the proposed Bayanihan to Arise as One Act is “an opportunity to experiment with UBI.” The bill for the third economic stimulus fund was approved jointly by the House Committees on Economic Affairs and Social Services.

“The concept of UBI is that it is a measure to correct some of the faults of the free market, including over-accumulation of wealth. We need those measures in this country,” he said.

UBI is a system where the government supports individuals by giving them a set amount of money regularly.

The third Bayanihan bill, a follow-up to the Bayanihan to Heal As One and Bayanihan to Recover as One laws signed last year, aims to help the economy recover from the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“COVID-19 was a jobs killer. It killed many small businesses. While Filipinos resorted to microentrepreneurship, mostly via online selling and the informal sector, these are not sustainable income flows. Meanwhile, the wealthiest segments of the population were able to buy assets on the cheap. As the economy recovers, they will only get richer,” Mr. Salceda said.

Mr. Salceda said the UBI system will be funded by revenues generated from rationalized taxes on the wealthy, which is part of the third package of the government’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program.

“The most obvious tax on the wealth is the real property tax. We should update land valuations and pass Package 3 of tax reform, or the Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform. I am also proposing that we impose higher rates on low-density housing for the rich in Metro Manila,” he said. — G.M. Cortez

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