Green party wants lower employer costs, higher environmental taxes in €27 billion plan

GroenLinks plans to make a radical tax reform the core of a new coalition agreement after the parliamentary elections in March, party leader Jesse Klaver announced on Wednesday evening. He plans to shift a total of 27 billion euros in costs by increasing taxes on things that are bad for the environment and making it cheaper for employers to hire low-wage workers, the Financieele Dagblad reports.

"Things we don't want, we make more expensive and what we do want, jobs, we make cheaper", Klaver said at a gathering in Oosterpoort, Groningen on Wednesday. He called his plans "the biggest tax reform ever".

"We are going to change the Netherlands. And if you want to do that, you start with the tax system, the dullest, most impenetrable, most boring topic you can think of", Klaver said, according to FD. "But it is not dull and boring. It is the beginning of change for the Netherlands. It is our firm commitment. Tax reform should be the core fo a new coalition agreement."

GroenLinks plans to put an end to employers' contribution for low-income workers. According to Klaver, this will reduce unemployment because it will be cheaper for businesses to employ people. Employers currently pay up to 20 percent premium for low-income workers. According to Klaver, scrapping that would mean a burden reduction of 20 billion euros. 

That will create many jobs, especially in the lower end of the labor market. Which is where they are needed the most, according to the GroenLinks leader. "Ultimately, populism is not the result of cultural differences, but of socio-economic differences. The benefits of globalization are unevenly distributed. This large system change can ensure that everyone will benefit equally."

GroenLinks wants to make the system more sustainable with higher taxes on CO2 emissions and the consumption of gas. The party plans to raise corporation tax, but is waiting for calculations from the central planning office CPB before talking amounts. GroenLinks also wants differentiated kilometer tax, higher taxes on assets, elimination of environmentally unfriendly exemptions, a tax on packaging, an increase in insurance and banking tax and to tackle tax evasion.