THE DUEL. Hedebouw (PVDA) and Ongena (Open Vld) about the state tax: “Mark Couckes of the world are leaving, only Jos and Maria remain” | Elections 2024

THE DUEL. Hedebouw (PVDA) and Ongena (Open Vld) about the state tax: “Mark Couckes of the world are leaving, only Jos and Maria remain” | Elections 2024
THE DUEL. Hedebouw (PVDA) and Ongena (Open Vld) about the state tax: “Mark Couckes of the world are leaving, only Jos and Maria remain” | Elections 2024

LOOK. Hedebouw and Ongena debate the budget deficit and the state tax in ‘The Duel’:

How our country’s finances can be put on the right track was central to the clash between Ongena and Hedebouw on Sunday afternoon. That is an important question, because according to new European rules, around 27 billion euros would have to be found.

At Open Vld they know this all too well, because current State Secretary for the Budget Alexia Bertrand comes from that party and was criticized by our political editors for her policy. During ‘The Duel’ it became clear that the Liberals and PVDA agree on one point: the budget must be improved.

With a question submitted to Ongena, viewer Anton Debel from Aalter pointed to the Flemish liberals, who provide the prime minister of the federal government. “How credible are the Liberals today with a Prime Minister who pursues a policy that leaves a lot of debt for future generations?” he asks.

“We must not forget that at the start of the government we were faced with a deficit of 10 billion euros,” the chairman defended himself. “That had to do with the political impasse that occurred after the previous elections.”

He pointed to the successive corona and energy crises that resulted in large expenditures. “I’m glad we took those measures then. Otherwise we would have been much worse off and we would have had a shrinking economy, like in Germany and the Netherlands.”

Yes-no questions to Ongena and Hedebouw

Will Open Vld go into opposition if the party does not reach 10 percent? Ongena: “The chance is very high.”

Are there already discussions between PVDA and other parties about working together locally? Hedebouw: “Not much yet.”

If budget, security, energy… are discussed first, are you then prepared to discuss state reform? Ongena: “We can talk about that afterwards.”

Do you believe that PS President Paul Magnette will form a government with you in Brussels and Wallonia? Hedebouw: “I hope so.”

Does Open Vld want a ‘rich tax’ as PVDA proposes?

If it depends on the communists, the budget can be brought out of the red by, among other things, introducing a wealth tax. This would apply to what Hedebouw calls the ‘super rich’: people with a capital of 5 million euros or more. “We started with 1 million euros, but in Belgium the rich are getting richer,” said the PVDA chairman.

According to his party, their ‘rich tax’ could yield 2 billion euros. Hedebouw is convinced that PVDA has also convinced Flemish parties of this idea over the past five years. “Green, Forward, everyone participates. Even Open Vld!”

You opt for an avalanche of taxes

Tom Ongena, Chairman Open Vld

Ongena strongly denied this in the VTM News studio: “We want to reduce the tax burden. A rich tax does not work, because of the twelve countries where it has been introduced, only three remain. The Mark Couckes of this world have long since lost their money against the introduction of this law. If you want to get billions from such a tax, you end up with Jos, Maria and their hard-earned savings.”

In response, Hedebouw figuratively waved a study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “There is a report from the OECD, not exactly a left-wing think tank, that indicates that in France only 0.23 percent of the wealth have left with the wealth tax,” said the communist. “You opt for an avalanche of taxes,” Ongena replied.

LOOK. The full political duel between Raoul Hedebouw (PVDA) and Tom Ongena (Open Vld):

Increase or decrease taxes?

Ongena accuses Hedebouw’s party of only proposing tax increases to close the gap in the budget. The PVDA member defends the position on business taxes: “I just want multinationals to pay the same as SMEs.”

According to him, the difference is large: 25 percent for SMEs, up to 35 percent for the self-employed, but less than 15 percent for multinationals. So Hedebouw wants to do something about that. “That is also fair competition.”

In addition, PVDA also proposes reducing subsidies to companies, saving on the cost of medicines by introducing the ‘kiwi model’ and halving donations to political parties. “I also think that our budget should be in order.”


I think we should invest in the people

Raoul Hedebouw, Chairman PVDA

“Your program is a mirage,” says the chairman of the Flemish Liberals. “More people need to work. So we say that the difference between working and not working should be 500 euros per month.”

Open Vld wants to do this by reducing taxes for those who earn little, increasing the Flemish job bonus, but also limiting unemployment benefits over time and allowing the amount to increase less sharply.

PVDA is against that. “The pensioner, the sick, the unemployed will have to pay. I believe that we should invest in the people, because they help our economy move forward,” says Hedebouw.

The communist also points to the growing number of long-term ill people: “500,000 people who are long-term ill due to Vivaldi’s policy. You bully them by abolishing all forms of early retirement and anticipated pensions.”

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The article is in Dutch

Tags: DUEL Hedebouw PVDA Ongena Open Vld state tax Mark Couckes world leaving Jos Maria remain Elections


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