THE House transport committee rejected on Friday the referral by President Nicos Anastasiades of the law voted last month for a three-cent cut in the road tax for pick-up trucks and double cabs.
The law, that was passed by the House plenum on May 19, provides for a three-cent reduction – from ten to seven — per cubic centimetre in the tax paid by the owners of old pick-up and double-cab trucks of up to 2850cc. The reduction was to kick in on January 1, 2018.
The president however, referred the law back to the transport committee with the justification that the tax cut will reduce state revenues by about €4m per year, which he said was a “significant amount”. He also cited environmental issues and discrimination against owners of other types of cars.
The resident’s letter added that the measure is not environmentally friendly, as it creates an incentive to continue using vehicles that do not have modern antifouling technology and which is presumably energy-intensive.
Anastasiades also said that the measure is generally uneconomic as it also creates an incentive for vehicles that de facto consume large quantities of fuel with consequences also in terms of increasing carbon dioxide emissions.
In addition, he said, it may be considered as unfair compared to owners of other categories of vehicles, such as saloon cars that have the same cubic capacity, age, etc, as the only difference between the vehicles of these two categories is that the double-cabs have more have more storage space at their rear.
In favour of the president’s referral were ruling Disy and the Greens, and voting against were Akel, Diko and Edek that had tabled the bill in question.
The referral will now be sent to the House plenum for discussion and vote. From there, depending on the outcome, the president has the right either to refer the law to the Supreme Court or to sign it.
Transport committee chairman, Diko MP Giorgos Prokopiou, had said last month that the House bill was designed to correct the injustice against the owners of such vehicles who were medium and low-income earners, usually farmers. The high road tax for pick-up trucks and double cabs was imposed when the price of diesel was much lower than petrol, Prokopiou said, and fuel prices have since come close to being the same, but the higher road tax remained. That forced many owners to immobilise them, he said.