April 22, 2008


Tax Policy Haunts British Leader as Vote on Budget Approaches (ALAN COWELL, 4/22/08, NY Times)

At the time, it seemed like a political masterstroke, the kind of move that inspired Tony Blair to label his successor, Gordon Brown, a “great clunking fist” in the bruising jousts of the British Parliament.

But now Mr. Brown’s surprise announcement in March 2007 that he was lowering an income tax rate has struck back vengefully, prompting a political crisis that threatens to unravel the Labor Party less than two weeks before a set of critical local elections. Some analysts are even questioning Mr. Brown’s political future.

Initially his announcement seemed to undercut the opposition Conservatives, appropriating their historic reputation for lower taxes. Labor lawmakers applauded deliriously. But the problem lay in the detail of Mr. Brown’s last budget as chancellor of the Exchequer before he took over from Mr. Blair last June.

To finance a 2-percentage-point cut in one rate of income tax, from 22 to 20 percent, the chancellor abolished a lower rate of 10 percent that benefited particularly low-paid young workers without children — part of Labor’s most cherished blue-collar constituency.

...it's only fitting they go out the same way, tripping over the EU and taxes.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 22, 2008 2:42 PM
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