Re­duce ve­hi­cle tax­a­tion – sign the pe­ti­tion

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - LETTERS -

Ve­hi­cle tax­a­tion in Malta as a per­cent­age of to­tal tax­a­tion is the high­est in the Euro­pean Union, ac­cord­ing to the 2017 edi­tion of Tax­a­tion Trends in the Euro­pean Union – Data for the EU Mem­ber States, Ice­land and Nor­way, pub­lished by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion (Ta­ble 70, page 223 - https://ec.europa.eu/tax­a­tion_­cus­toms/sites/tax­a­tion/files/tax­a­tion_t rend­s_re­port_2017.pdf)

What is even worse is that in 2015, the per­cent­age in­creased to 3.7 per cent from 3.4 per cent in 2014, re­vers­ing the trend that had been go­ing on over sev­eral years!

Why are Mal­tese car own­ers and driv­ers bur­dened with ve­hi­cle tax­a­tion dis­pro­por­tion­ately higher when com­pared with other EU cit­i­zens?

In Es­to­nia and Lithua­nia, car own­ers pay only 0.2 per cent in ve­hi­cle tax­a­tion, while in the UK they pay 1.8 per cent, which is half as much as we pay in Malta!

Is this what is meant that Malta is the best in the EU? When it comes to ve­hi­cle tax­a­tion, Malta is the worst in the EU, and the au­thor­i­ties know it.

The prin­ci­ple of the pol­luter pays is fair, but here in Malta this prin­ci­ple is ap­plied in a flawed man­ner. Ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion tax and the an­nual cir­cu­la­tion li­cence tax are higher for larger ve­hi­cles than for smaller ones, re­gard­less of the num­ber of kilo­me­tres driven dur­ing the year.

Which ve­hi­cle pol­lutes more? A small ve­hi­cle that is driven prac­ti­cally all day long, seven days a week, or a slightly larger one driven for a cou­ple of hours on the week­end, and one or two short er­rands dur­ing the week?

Have Trans­port Malta or the Na­tional Statis­tics Of­fice ever con­ducted a study to find out how many kilo­me­tres pensioners drive dur­ing the week, month or year, when they are re­tired?

A ve­hi­cle that used to pay US$128 (€109) every two years in the United States is charged 14 times as much per year here in Malta – €762 – where it is hardly used!

The ma­jor part of air pol­lu­tion in Malta is not caused by small pas­sen­ger cars, but by com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles, mini-vans, large trucks, wa­ter and petrol bowsers, ce­ment mix­ers, buses and coaches! But the au­thor­i­ties seem to be afraid to take any mea­sures to ad­dress the air pol­lu­tion caused by these large ve­hi­cles.

Con­ges­tion on our roads is largely the re­sult of lack of in­vest­ment on road con­struc­tion and im­prove­ments over the years. The elec­toral prom­ise of re­build­ing our roads over the next seven years is a step in the right di­rec­tion but should have started years ago.

Be­tween 2013 and this year, the Gov­ern­ment col­lected €528.6 mil­lion in ve­hi­cle tax­a­tion, but spent only €56.3 mil­lion in road con­struc­tion and im­prove­ments, apart from other funds pro­vided by the EU. So what did the Gov­ern­ment do with the bal­ance of €472.3 mil­lion? Is it not ob­vi­ous why we have traf­fic con­ges­tion?

Given the sur­plus that the Gov­ern­ment is boast­ing about, and the ad­di­tional rev­enue col­lected from the In­di­vid­ual In­vest­ment Pro­gramme, it is now time for the Gov­ern­ment to start re­liev­ing car own­ers and driv­ers of the heavy bur­den of ve­hi­cle tax­a­tion.

The Malta Au­to­mo­bile Club has launched a pe­ti­tion to re­duce ve­hi­cle tax­a­tion, and more than a thou­sand peo­ple have sup­ported it. This is more than any pre-bud­get con­sul­ta­tion meet­ing con­vened by the Gov­ern­ment. As more peo­ple get to know about the pe­ti­tion – https://www.change.org/p/h on-dr-ian-borg-re­duce-ve­hi­cle­tax­a­tion – more sig­na­tures will be col­lected. Al­fred A. Far­ru­gia Malta Au­to­mo­bile Club

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