Pacquiao vows to fight taxman in Senate
PROPONENTS of income tax cuts have found a champion in the country’s top individual taxpayer and richest congressman—boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.
The Sarangani representative, who has announced his plan to run for senator next year, said he was in favor of moves in Congress to lower individual income taxes.
“That will be our focus if we are elected to the Senate—the lowering of the individual income tax and an increase in the salary of government employees,” Pacquiao told reporters at a dinner he hosted at Makati Shangri-la hotel on Tuesday.
A bill that would reduce individual income and corporate tax rates is pending in the House ways and means committee but has been met with opposition from President Aquino and the Department of Finance, both concerned about lower government revenue.
Under the proposal, income tax would be bracketed so that those earning P180,000 and below a year would be exempt from paying taxes, while those earning from P180,000 to P500,000 will pay 9 percent.
Those with a yearly income of P500,000 to P10 million would pay 17 percent, while those earning more than P10 million would pay 30 percent.
At present, all individual taxpayers earning P500,000 and above are taxed at 32 percent.
Pacquiao said he believed income taxes should be lowered despite the projected loss of government revenue.
“It’s not about the loss of government income. That depends on how the country’s wealth is managed. It’s good to lower taxes because that [will be giving to the people most of] what they have earned,” he said.
In 2014, Pacquiao declared a net worth of P1.6 billion in his financial disclosure, the largest among members of the House of Representatives.
He was also the country’s top individual taxpayer in 2013, paying P163.8 million in regular income tax, according to the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
Pacquiao said that if elected, he would not be just another lawmaker just sitting in the Senate.
In a statement, the boxing champ said he authored more than two dozen bills and cosponsored dozens of others in the House.
He said he would be “embracing new levels of responsibility” and be “confronting new challenges” by running for the Senate, but he was “dreaming bigger dreams” for the people and the nation.
Pacquiao, a two-termer in the House, has been criticized for his absences from the House.
In 2014, he attended only four of the 70 sessions of the House, becoming one of the top absentees along with Negros Occidental Rep. Julio Ledesma IV. With a report from Allan Nawal and Aquiles Zonio, Inquirer Mindanao
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