PM defends proposal to cut corporate tax

SEOUL– Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on Thursday defended a proposal by the government and the ruling party to lower the corporate tax rate, saying that doing so would give more benefits to self-employed people and small and medium-sized firms.

Han’s remarks came as the ruling People Power Party (PPP) and the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) remained deadlocked over next year’s state budget, as they have failed to narrow gaps on key sticky issues, including the corporate tax rate.

The DP, which holds a majority in the National Assembly, has criticized the PPP for trying to slash the corporate tax rate, claiming it would only benefit big businesses.

“The ratio of corporate tax cuts for small business owners and small and medium-sized firms is much larger than that of big companies, which are mistakenly called ‘wealth tax cuts,'” Han told reporters.

Han said the proposed tax cut is necessary to help companies increase investment and hiring, citing a bleak outlook for next year’s economy.

The prime minister said next year’s state budget is aimed at “reducing debts while protecting the socially vulnerable and revitalizing the economy.”

Despite the current gridlock, Han said he expects the DP to eventually make a compromise on key sticking points surrounding the budget bill.

A teenage survivor of the deadly crowd crush in Seoul’s Itaewon neighborhood has been found dead in an apparent suicide, police said Wednesday. The high-school student lost two friends in the Oct. 29 tragedy that killed 158 people.

In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said Han expressed regrets after he was briefed about the death of the survivor.

Han also instructed relevant authorities to step up counseling therapy for the bereaved families of the victims and survivors, the office said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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