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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 May 25 - 31  > Shii: FY 2022 supplementary budget draft unable to ease impact of price surge on people’s livelihoods
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2022 May 25 - 31 [POLITICS]

Shii: FY 2022 supplementary budget draft unable to ease impact of price surge on people’s livelihoods

May 26, 2022

Diet discussions on a draft of the fiscal 2022 supplementary budget began on May 25. Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo in his interpellation at a House of Representatives plenary meeting proposed measures to reduce the negative impacts of price increases on people’s livelihoods.

Later on the same day at a House of Councilors plenary meeting, JCP Vice Chair Tamura Tomoko grilled the Kishida government about its policies in the supplementary budget draft based on Shii’s proposal.

At the Lower House plenary meeting, Shii pointed out that in the supplementary budget draft, the government increased the amount of reserve funds, which will be used without Diet discussion, from the initial budget, and said that this goes against the constitutional principle of financial democracy. He demanded that the government withdraw and reformulate the supplementary budget plan as it is insufficient to implement measures to counter skyrocketing prices.

Shii said that in order to protect people’s livelihoods during severe price inflation, the need is to shift away from neoliberal economic policies which include harmful deregulation and cuts in social welfare services, and to create a “people-oriented and genuine strong economy”.

In this regard, Shii proposed that the consumption tax rate be lowered to 5% from the current 10% without delay, and that a plan to introduce the consumption tax invoice system which is disadvantageous for smaller businesses and freelance workers be cancelled.

Shii criticized the government’s economic measures in the draft budget for only working to reduce specific commodity prices, such as petrol prices. Pointing out that financial hardship due to higher prices is heavier for lower income individuals, Shii stressed that the lowering of the consumption tax rate is the most effective way to protect people’s livelihoods hit hard by surging prices.

Shii advocated a substantial increase in minimum hourly wages as a measure to deal with the negative economic effects of price hike. He explained the JCP proposal calling for taxing large corporations’ internal reserves. He pointed out that this proposal, if implemented, will bring in an additional 10 trillion yen in government tax revenues, and said that if the government uses this money to provide financial support to small- and medium-sized enterprises, it will contribute to increasing the minimum hourly wage to 1,500 yen.

Other measures in Shii’s proposals included cancelling a planned cutback in pension benefits, halving university tuitions, exploring the industrial and economic development centering on measures to tackle climate change, and building the perspective of gender equality in economic policies.

Past related article:
> JCP calls for taxing large corporations’ internal reserves to implement pay hikes and ‘green investments’ [February 25, 2022]
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