Robles tax: BE proposed, PCP is in, PS and CDS rejected it

  • ECO News
  • 12 September 2018

The issue is raising much public concern, given the proximity to the State Budget 2019 decisions. PS, the socialists, have rejected the leftists' proposal targeting real estate speculation.

It was last Sunday that Catarina Martins talked about her party’s (Bloco de Esquerda) proposal to stop the real estate speculation, which has been named “Robles tax”, an allusion to the political turmoil that hit BE and involved politician Ricardo Robles last month, as he was on his way to profit millions on the sale of a building he had bought with his sister, in Alfama.

The opposition has declared their stance on the matter: there will be no support to the measure coming from Catarina Martins’ Geringonça partner, António Costa. Rui Rio, leader of the social democrats, has shown his support for BE’s proposal, while PS, the ruling party, rejected the idea.

The new measure and its contours haven’t been disclosed yet, but the positions from all parties seem to be solid: BE can see the proposal get accepted as the party has the support of PSD, the Portuguese social democrats, and PCP, the Portuguese communist party.

This won’t be the first time that PSD will be backing up an initiative from the Portuguese left. In 2016, Bloco de Esquerda and Partido Social-Democrata had agreed, during the debate for the State Budget 2017, that Caixa Geral de Depósitos, a Portuguese public banking institution, should deliver to the Constitutional Court, their administrators’ income statements.

BE is comparing the real estate speculation with stock market speculation, and the proposing party’s aim is to hamper the galloping prices of the housing market in Portugal. Catarina Martins believes that the tax has all the necessary requirements in order to pass and, according to the politician ” it aims at fighting an unjust fiscal system, which takes more from those living from honest jobs and less to those who live off patrimony and capital”.

The idea then is that real estate speculation has the same taxation system as that which financial markets are subject to. “In the context of financial markets, when someone gets significant margins of profit from their stocks exchange, over a very short period of time, there are certain special “fines”. What we are defending is that the same should be applied to those buying and selling houses with that same behaviour.”

The Communist Party’s leader, Jerónimo de Sousa, has admitted his support during the annual communist festival “Avante” which took place last week in the Lisbon region, defending “the increase in taxation to properties of high value and the result of real estate speculation”.

Partido Socialista (PS) will not back up the BE on this matter. The parliament’s leadership announced that the Socialist Parliamentarians would not accept this proposal from their opponents. They claim that, for one, this would cause a double regulation, as there are already many taxes that target real estate owners.  

The leader of PSD, Rui Rio, however, decided to favour BE’s decision, claiming that “it wouldn’t be such an inconceivable idea to apply the tax“, while CDS has pledged that the tax was “harmful for the economy”. 

It’s official, the rents will increase 1.15%

The proposals from the Portuguese left have appeared in a time when the inflation of real estate is rapidly increasing, resulting as well in an upward trend in rent prices and house prices.

This Wednesday, the National Statistics Office confirmed that the expected inflation variation for the next year would be of about 1.15%, confirming the estimates released by the end of August.