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With 72 votes for and 48 votes against, the Chilean Chamber of Deputies passed a tax reform bill. The governing Nueva Mayoría alliance supported the reform, whilst the right-wing Alianza opposed it.
The bill was introduced by president Michelle Bachelet, as part of a series of 50 measures she had promised to carry out within the first 100 days of her term. If turned into law, it will increase taxes for big businesses, lower the tax rates for individuals, and remove exemptions. With the new tax system, the government expects to collect an extra US$8.2bn in taxes, which will be used to fund health and education services.
After the debate, which lasted over 12 hours, Economy Minister Alberto Arenas said that “the aim to increase tax collection is not a whim, it is what Chile needs to keep growing and progressing as a society; it is what’s required to reduce inequality with fiscal responsibility.” The opposition justified their negative vote by saying that the tax reform will affect the country’s growth.
With the bill passed in general, each individual article will be debated and voted on by the Chamber of Deputies today. It then needs to be passed by the Senate, where the government has a tighter majority, to become law.