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Argentine Congress moves toward implementing wealth tax to fund COVID-19 aid

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The lower house of Argentina’s Congress on Wednesday approved a bill seeking to raise 300 billion pesos ($3.75 billion) through a tax on large fortunes to finance programs aimed at helping families hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senate was expected to consider the government-backed legislation before the end of the month. The lower house vote was 133 to 115 with two abstentions.

People with more than $2.5 million – about 12,000 individuals – would get hit by the 2% flat tax. The levy would increase progressively as equity increases, under the proposal.

President Alberto Fernández took office in December amid a recession that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. He has sharply increased public spending to protect hard-hit families over recent months. More than 36,106 Argentines have died of COVID-19 so far, according to official data.

Money raised by the proposed tax is to be used to buy health equipment, fund welfare subsidies and loans for small and medium-sized companies with the aim of increasing employment.

Supporters of the Government of President Alberto Fernandez march to commemorate the Militancy Day and show their support for the president and his proposal that seeks that people who have ‘great fortunes’ make an ‘extraordinary solidarity contribution’ to help face the consequences of the pandemic and get the country out of the crisis, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 17 November 2020. EPA-EFE/Juan Ignacio Roncoroni

More than 35,700 Argentines have died of COVID-19 so far, according to official data.

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