As the debates regarding Turkey's 2021 budget continue, Aziz Konukman, a scholar of economics and a member of the Solidarity Assembly, mentioned an important aspect in tax spending. Konukman argued that the taxpayers' money is officially being served for the use of capitalists.
Konukman mentioned that the preparation and presentation of the budget were not compatible with the Constitution, thus the Parliament shall return the budget. However, it is a known fact that the number of AKP MPs do not allow this.
The expert said that the preparation of the budget in such a hidden way is directly associated with the inclusion of the budget.
Konukman stated that the preparation committee of the budget has exploited various tricks in order to disguise the “tax expenditure” meaning that the taxes received from the capitalists will be returned to them as “incentives”.
In the 2021 budget, it is expected to give up 222.7 billion liras tax to be collected from the capitalists. Considering that the total amount of tax revenue will be 922 billion liras, the government is giving up a quarter of the total tax to be collected meaning that 25% of the money of the people is transferred to the capitalists. Of course, the amount to be spent for the capitalists, it no limited to this amount whereas the income tax of the working class is withheld even before they can receive their pays. The situation was not different in 2020 either.
Konukman said that budgets are political texts and “the decision regarding where to spend public money is a political decision to determine priorities, and as seen here, AKP determined to spend this money in favor of the capitalists.”
Konukman’s statement is as follows:
“Total tax expenditure lists show the taxes dismissed. Most of this concept belongs to taxes to be collected from the capitalists. So tax expenditure means that the taxes to be collected from capitalists will not be collected.”
A few important problems become apparent when this year’s budget is compared with previous years.
In last year’s budget proposal for 2020 tax expenditure was foreseen as 195.6 billion liras. This amount was determined as an incentive with 5% growth in economy projection.
However as seen in the New Economic Plan, the economy of Turkey will grow by 0.3% this year. In this situation, if the mentioned sources were utilized as incentives, it means that these sources were wasted.
This can only be understood if a list of tax expenditures regarding 2020 is presented to the Parliament.
In last year’s budget tax expenditure cost for 2021 was shown as 222.7 billion liras (2020 budget includes 2021 projection). However, it is interesting that in the recent budget proposal presented regarding 2021-2022, the 2020 amount is revised as 230,8 billion liras meaning that the foreseen 195,6 billion liras tax expenditure foreseen for 2020 has been realized as 230,8 billion liras. The capitalists have received an extra 35 billion liras tax expenditure. The reason for this is not explained.
The interesting part is that these calculations are hidden because these calculations shall be published on the Parliament website. However, it is not possible to find this information on the site. We can reach this information from the budget proposal of the Strategy and Budget Directorate website.
On the other hand, tax expenditure spending for the 2020 budget has been increased by 8.1 billion liras. The reason for this increase is not also explained.
If these funds were spent on workers instead of the capitalists, the lives of millions could change. The budget is prepared to transfer funds from the public to the capitalists. 2021 budget shall be viewed from this point.