Warsaw, 14th May 2020
COMMENTARY OF THE UNION OF ENTREPRENEURS AND EMPLOYERS
REGARDING PLASTIC TAX PROPOSALS
The Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers has consistently opposed the introduction of any levies of sectoral and selective character. We believe that the one of the characteristics of the tax system should be it being universal, as it makes tax collection much easier, it is executed on a more efficient basis and it is cheaper to collect on a uniform ground from a large group of entities rather than from many groups of entities according to different rules. With this in mind, we evaluate negatively all kinds of proposals aimed at introducing a tax on plastic products, especially if it should take place during a difficult crisis due to the ongoing pandemic.
According to the information broadcast and published yesterday by the media, a proposal to supplement the provisions of the next “anti-crisis shield” with a new tax on plastic products in which the content of recycled plastic is less than 30% had been introduced in the public debate. The position of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers in this regard is clear. There can be no doubt that Poland must shape its own model for adapting to the Green New Deal, which is becoming one of the major policies pursued by the European Union. Achieving higher recycling levels and reducing waste disposal levels is a must. However, we believe that Poland’s path to a circular economy must not be based on fiscal tools. The fundamental condition for implementing the assumptions determined at the level of the European Union is the construction of an efficient and well-functioning waste management system, taking into account the extended responsibility of the producer.
Our position in this matter is unwavering, as the entire Polish economy is currently going through a very difficult period. The coronavirus pandemic indeed forced many industries to cease operations, while in case of others, it has resulted in a decline in revenues and disruption of supply chains. Any and all legislative interventions aimed at relieving entrepreneurs at this time ought to be appreciated; however, proposals that seek to improve the operating conditions of entrepreneurs in a given industry at the expense of other market participants are unacceptable. The legislator’s efforts during this period should focus on deregulation, simplifying procedures and minimising bureaucratic and administrative obligations. We believe that the introduction of additional taxes in a time of crisis is unjustified and harmful, especially if it were to be done as part of a package of laws whose declared objective is to protect businesses against the negative effects of the COVID-19 epidemic.
The Green New Deal speaks of a reality to which the Polish economy will have to adapt. Obviously, this will require effort on the part of both the regulator and market participants. The first-order goal at the moment should be the creation of an efficient and effective waste management system along with the implementation of a model of extended producer’s responsibility in line with the requirements laid down in EU directives. All types of levies imposed selectively on specific products or industries lead to an increase in the level of complexity of the tax system. Moreover, taxes should, in principle, fulfil a fiscal function, that is provide funds for the execution of the state’s basic tasks; attempts to achieve other goals by means of the tools within the tax system lead to disturbances in the economy and are usually of low efficiency. Therefore, we clearly oppose the proposals to introduce “a plastic tax” – we evaluate negatively both the concept itself and the idea of its introduction in such extraordinary conditions.