Tax deal in troubled waters; "No hard feelings," says PM

Alexander Pechtold (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Pepijn Leupen - D66)Alexander Pechtold (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Pepijn Leupen - D66)

The tax reform deal may be in trouble. D66 leader Alexander Pechtold doesn't know whether his party has faith in the negotiations with the cabinet on the tax reform. The ChristenUnie, GroenLinks and SGP are still willing to negotiate, but without the D66, the coalition will not get a majority in the Senate.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte, VVD, thinks it makes sense to keep negotiating, even if other parties do not want to. "If it fails, no hard feelings. But I think we should make a serious effort", Rutte said in the parliamentary debate on the tax plan on Wednesday night, NOS reports.

Pechtold feels that the government does not have enough ambition to implement a serious tax reform. "The Cabinet does not clarify what it wants", he said to NU after the debate. "The Cabinet is committed to tax cuts, but not on jobs, simplification and greening." It bothers Pechtold that last year it was announced that the tax reform would generate 100 thousand jobs, but with the current plan not only half of that target will be reached.  He will talk with his faction about whether it makes sense to continue the negotiations.

Rutte believes that the D66 will be willing to continue the negotiations after internal consultations. "I think they will eventually come around", he said to RTL Nieuws after the debate. "The D66 has always been highly motivated to consider a tax reform. But we'll have tow wait and see." He acknowledged that the negotiations will be meaningless if the D66 decides to pull out of the talks.

The Prime Minister stressed that he was opposed to the debate in the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament. He thinks that public discussions will damage the negotiations and would therefore not comment on the development of the plans.