The Wall Street Journal | 5/19/2010 12:00:00 AM
Colombia Candidate Promises More Taxes
May 19--Presidential candidate Antanas Mockus, who as mayor of Bogotá once asked residents to voluntarily pay more taxes, is making a campaign pledge that would have most politicians trembling: higher taxes.
Mr. Mockus, a mathematician and former university dean, recently addressed thousands of his followers in this sweltering border town with promises of higher taxes and clean government.
Mockus adviser Salomon Kalmanovitz, a former central bank director who is viewed as a potential finance minister, said a Mockus administration would put an end to the tax breaks and loopholes that allow corporations to pay much less than the headline 33% corporate tax rate.
The pledge to raise taxes may be popular with Colombia's poor, who pay little in taxes and would be less affected by Mr. Mockus's increases than the rich. Yet it is also stoking fears that a Mockus administration could diverge from some of Mr. Uribe's market-friendly policies that helped Colombia attract international investors.
Mr. Santos, meanwhile, promises to dismantle a financial-transactions tax that individuals and businesses pay for various banking operations. His economic platform, which centers on building up the country's shaky infrastructure, doesn't mention raising taxes. The Santos campaign has assailed Mr. Mockus's economic plan, saying it wouldn't create jobs.
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