SCUTIGLIANI AT THE FESTA DELL’UNITA' IN BOLOGNA
"FIGHTING TAX EVASION TO LOWER THE BURDEN FOR EVERYONE"
The debate on the topic “A fair tax system”, which took place in the Salvador Allende room of the Festa dell'Unità in Bologna, had among the speakers the CEO of Metalcastello and chairman of the Confindustria Machinery Supply Chain, Stefano Scutigliani, who compared his own experiences and considerations with those of the Honourable Virginio Merola, former mayor of the city for ten years and now group leader of the Finance Commission in the House, and of Senator Antonio Misiani, deputy chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. The meeting was moderated by journalist Maurice Pope of the DiRE press agency, and introduced by Alessandro Albano, head of Economic Development and Digital Transition of the Democratic Party.
"We must break down the barriers between business and labour", Scutigliani began, "and this could be done by means of fair taxation. Article 53 of the Italian Constitution reads “Everyone is required to contribute towards public expenditure based on their ability to pay. The system is based on the concept of progressive taxation.” Our entire Constitution returns to this theme on various occasions: suffice to think of article 3 which says that "All citizens have equal social dignity and are equal before the law, without distinction of sex, race, language, religion, political opinions, personal or social conditions. It is the duty of the Republic to remove economic and social obstacles…”. The reality is that we are not all equal: I run a company that pays taxes and distributes income to a thousand families, and I don't consider myself equal to those who evade taxes. Tax evasion is everywhere, but today we have ways to stop it; but the way that the apparatus to combat it is organised has to be changed. We want the government to lower the tax burden, which in Italy is unbelievably complex, but to do this we need to lower the costs of bureaucracy and facilitate companies that invest in development, in know-how, and that collaborate with educational institutions. Companies that deserve it ought to be supported: we are all equal before the law, but the reality is that we are not all equal."
For Merola, the former mayor, "Rather than increasing taxes, we need to redistribute the tax burden, invest in healthcare, social services and schools. Businesses and workers are both valuable and deserve to be protected, but we must not think in terms of watertight compartments: every guild or corporation has something to propose for its members, but there is no overall vision and what we need to prevent in this country is an all-out battle between corporations."
"The percentage of tax evasion nowadays is still very high", in Misiani's opinion. "The points to start from are clear: a fair redistribution of the tax burden, without promising impossible relief; progressiveness, an element to be safeguarded; a proper fight against tax evasion, with reforms that are consistent with sustainable development. Those who run businesses and those who work need to be rewarded."
"Businesses are like soldiers in the trenches", concluded Scutigliani,"donning their helmets and waiting for the bombs to arrive. We must worry about defending excellence, not protecting ourselves. We must feel that the State is a "friend", and for this we need a strategy that maintains our identity: that of a region that functions because it has a genuine system of social cohesion. Things can only evolve by maintaining this underlying unity, which is fundamental."