SP, GroenLinks and PvdA are strongly critical of a tax credit for businesses of 2 billion euros. This so-called Job-Related Investment Discount (BIK) is intended to keep business investments up to standard, but the opposition parties prefer to spend the money differently.
“Spend as much as 2 billion euros on an investment discount, but higher health care salaries are not possible?” Asked SP leader Lilian Marijnissen aloud.
“Reserve money first and the substantiation will come later. It is exactly the other way around for salaries in healthcare,” said Jesse Klaver of GroenLinks.
Lodewijk Asscher (PvdA) wants to know whether alternative plans from the opposition can be discussed if they have the same effect.
The questions were addressed to VVD party chairman Klaas Dijkhoff, who defended the intended discount. According to him, entrepreneurs can continue to invest through such a discount and this prevents the economy from getting bogged down. “Entrepreneurs have a hard time. If they continue to invest, we will get tax revenue in return. It keeps people working,” said Dijkhoff.
It is a ‘crisis instrument’ and this means that the discount is temporary. Companies are encouraged to continue to invest in machines, for example, “even in these turbulent times”, the cabinet writes. These costs can be offset against the tax on employees’ salaries.
Klaver sees it as a successful lobby of the employers’ organization VNO-NCW. “It is a farewell present for Hans de Boer”, he said of the now former employer foreman.
Opposition wants a structural wage increase
For some time now, the opposition has been asking for a structural wage increase for healthcare workers. Until now, employees in this sector have had to make do with a bonus of 1,000 euros this year and 500 euros a year later. A wage increase is not possible, the cabinet has already said.
A committee is investigating where the bottlenecks in healthcare are and how they should be resolved.
The link between the investment discount for the business sector and health care salaries was quickly made by the opposition. “There is no need for a commission for a 2 billion euro investment discount, but for higher health care salaries it is?” Asked Marijnissen.
The discount is already planned for 2021, but there is no precise substantiation. It is also unclear how the measure will achieve its intended objective. The documents will be sent to Parliament at the earliest at the beginning of October. That also led to irritation. Klaver: “If the business community asks for money, this cabinet will grant it. The contrast with healthcare could not be greater.”
Klaver notices that the cabinet is always coming up with a new tax benefit for companies of around 2 billion euros. “First we had the abolition of dividend tax, then the reduction of the profit tax and now the investment discount that we do not know.”
He compared it to the musical Soldier of Orange. “Whenever you think they are going to stop, the show will be extended again.”
Until now, opposition parties have successfully held back those tax benefits, whether or not helped by social developments. Dijkhoff kept insisting on the importance of the business world, otherwise the situation in the Netherlands will change to that of the novel Wretched.
The VVD member was annoyed that the party leaders made the plan a “caricature”. There are also plans to increase taxes for companies, for example by tackling tax avoidance.
SP leader Marijnissen during the General Discussions. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Wilders angry because of conviction
PVV leader Geert Wilders kicked off the Political Reflections. Wilders, who had signed up for 35 minutes speaking time, saw after his contribution that he had been speaking for more than two hours.
The PVV leader made a particular point of his lawsuit that at the beginning of this month resulted in a conviction for group insult because of his statement about “fewer Moroccans” in 2014.
Wilders spoke of a political trial with biased judges. “The Netherlands is an intensely corrupt country,” said Wilders.
“We know that tune,” said the D66 party chairman. “If a court decision does not suit Wilders, it is class justice. He is thus laying the ax at the roots of our independent constitutional state.”