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China to implement tax changes to reduce inequality

CHINA POVERTY | 06 de febrero de 2013

China to implement tax changes to reduce inequality

A Chinese beggar sleeps on a bench in downtown Beijing. EFE/File

Beijing, Feb 6 (EFE).- The Chinese government has made known its intention to implement broad tax changes with the aim of reducing the enormous gap between rich and poor.

The plan includes increasing taxes on state-run businesses and on the wealthiest citizens and setting the value of real estate investments so that more funds will become available with which to raise the minimum wage and allocate more to education, health care and public housing.

In addition, the law will obligate government officials to disclose their incomes, real estate holdings and their own - and their family members' - investments in businesses, a gesture in the direction of transparency after several top officials have been implicated in corruption cases.

The document also opens the possibility of introducing an inheritance tax "at the appropriate time."

China "has entered a decisive phase for building a moderately prosperous society," the State Council said, acknowledging "a clear need to reform and optimize the system of income distribution to reduce economic and social inequalities, which are very present nowadays."

Within the space of three years, Chinese authorities hope to set the minimum wage at 40 percent of the average remuneration for urban workers and cover about 75 percent of health care spending by means of the funds raised via the measure.

The document provides a clear sign of change in the country's economic growth model, which up to now has been very dependent on public investment, to give a greater role to domestic consumption.

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