Chile's Boric to insist on shelved tax reform bill by end of July

June 2, 2023 12:02 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Chilean President Gabriel Boric said on Thursday his government will insist on pushing through a tax reform bill that was shelved by Congress earlier this year.

During his second state of the union address to Congress in the port city of Valparaiso, Boric said the government would talk to political, social and business groups and push the senate to take up the issue again by the end of July.

During a wide-ranging speech that spanned more than three hours, Boric reiterated the need for tax reform to fund healthcare infrastructure, investments in education, public transportation, labor reforms and financing for victims of sexual violence.

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“Everyone in this room knows, that neither this government or any other, can advance responsibly in making these rights a reality without tax reform.”

Boric rode a wave of left-wing optimism to the presidency but his popularity has plummeted since amid economic woes, rising crime and political setbacks like a failed new constitution.

The government has also seen key parts of its agenda, like tax reform bill shelved by Congress in March, stalled by a divided legislature.

“We’ve presented a horizon, we know the debts we have to pay, and we’re open to building a common roadmap to get there,” Boric. “What we need now is to know if this congress shares these priorities or not.”

During his speech, Boric also announced that the government will send a bill to Congress this year seeking bids for large scale energy storage requiring $2 billion in investments.

Boric said the project will start in 2026 in the Atacama desert and will be the largest in Latin America.

“Chile is one of the main producers of renewable energy in the world and today the challenge is to store that solar and wind energy,” Boric said, adding it was key for the country’s goal to be carbon neutral before 2050.