Higher wages, profit tax in left-wing opposition's counter budget

Increase corporate income tax and the tax on the wealthy to pay for higher wages and a lower workloads in the public sector, left-wing opposition parties GroenLinks, SP and PvdA proposed in a counter-budget to the national budget the Rutte III government presented on Tuesday. "We show that you can make different choices with the same money", SP leader Lilian Marijnessen said to NOS.

The left-wing opposition wants to raise the highest rate of corporate income tax - the tax companies pay on their profits - from 25 percent to 30 percent. The government wants to keep it at 25 percent. This will raise over 4 billion euros. A higher wealth tax will raise another 1.8 billion euros. That amounts to 6.5 billion euros extra to spend.

And that money should mainly go to the public sector. Higher salaries for teachers, healthcare workers, police officers, and social lawyers. The healthcare deductible should be halved from its current 385 euros per year. And minimum wage can be increased by 2.5 percent, according to their counter-budget.

The parties want to invest another 2 billion euros in the public sector, supporting education in particular. "You see a huge teacher shortage, resulting in children not getting the eduction they need. The government is totally ignoring that", PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher said to NOS.

On the housing market, the left-wing parties want to invest in lower rents, new construction and making existing homes more sustainable. They also want to lower the energy tax for households, and have large consumers like companies pay more.

GroenLinks, SP, and PvdA will present their counter-budget during the General Political Viewing - the parliamentary debate on the national budget - which starts today. The three parties believe that the coalition parties will support at least some of their plans. "If I listen to the King's speech, the cabinet should also be happy with many of our proposals", GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver said.

The coalition of VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie will have to make some concessions to the opposition. The coalition does not have a majority in the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate, and will need support from opposition parties to get any of their plans passed.