In a measure to fill the Greek coffers the Prime Minister will lose one month's salary, along with all elected officials. As they make their symbolic gesture the Greek population will endure a new property tax despite facing hard austerity measures.
As 25,000 rioters took to the streets of Thessaloniki where the Prime Minister was giving his annual economic speech, the Greek government announced this weekend that it will initiate a new fiscal measure which involves every elected official losing one month’s salary. The move will affect all elected officials including Prime Minister George Papandreou and each of the country’s 350 mayors. Money Watch reported that Papandreou announced the pay cut saying "It is better that we all lose something than lose everything, forever."Whilst the news is meant to demonstrate that politicians are contributing to the Greek coffers at personal expense, it will do little to allay the general anger that yet another property tax has been unleashed on the public.
Ekathimerini described the salary decrease for officials as “a largely symbolic move.” However the new property tax will be anything but symbolic to the electorate who are already struggling under ever tightening austerity measures. To ensure the new property tax will be paid it is to be added to electricity bills to prevent people evading the tax whilst ensuring that those who don’t pay will have their electricity cut off.
The property surtax will apply for two years and rates will be based on the size of the property. Concessions will be made for the unemployed, disabled and large families. Nikos Fotopoulos, president of Greek electricity DEI’s federation, Genop, announced on Monday that the federation will not act as a tax collector. He said it would block the property tax from being collected on DEI bills, Athens News reported.
Continual cut backs coupled with increased taxes have left many people in dire economic straits, with little spending power left to bolster the economy through spending. Unemployment is at record levels and many rue the day that Greece joined the εuro. At least the Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos publicly stated that the next few months are going to be “hellish,” though it is unlikely that either he or Papandreou will personally feel the pinch of austerity despite their loss of one month’s salary.