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AmCham presses gov't to limit crisis taxes, carry out reforms

The American Chamber of Commerce in Hungary (AmCham) said in a statement on Monday that "crisis taxes" recently levied on the energy, trade and telecommunications sector must be limited to at most three years, be accompanied by structural reforms and be complemented by measures to widen the tax base.

AmCham called the crisis taxes "truly extraordinary" and "unorthodox", adding that "to some extent, they highlight the failure of state regulatory systems in providing an adequate regulatory environment for natural monopolies."

The taxes, which are to raise HUF 161 billion a year in 2010-2012, were introduced to ensure Hungary meets its general government deficit targets.

The chamber acknowledged the "extremely difficult position" of the Hungarian economy and the public sector in specific, but placed most of the blame for it on a lack of reforms, the absence of a clear economic strategy, overspending by the state and an increase in foreign debt.

"Hungary is affected by the global financial crisis AND the effects of local economic mismanagement," AmCham said.

AmCham said it welcomed the introduction of new personal income tax and corporate tax regimes as well as the decision to cap social security contributions, all measures in line with the chamber's position for the past five years.

AmCham called on the government to "establish new and effective methods of dialogue with the business community to monitor progress, to avoid further special decisions, to significantly improve the competitiveness of Hungary and to put the country on a sustainable path of growth- in the interest of local and foreign investors, big and small businesses." The chamber said it was ready to work to make Hungary the most competitive economy in the region and to help achieve the government's aim of creating one million jobs in ten years. (MTI-ECONEWS)