The Irish Congress of Trade Unions is calling for reforms to capital taxation and to the system of tax expenditures to raise almost €500 million in 2020.

In its pre-budget submission, it proposes the introduction of a net wealth tax, greater tax contributions from inherited wealth, as well as a review of the system of tax
expenditures to eliminate unjustified or overgenerous measures.

Congress is also calling for an increase in the rate of employers' PRSI on the portion of incomes in excess of €100,000, to raise €150 million annually. 

It also proposes increases to the excises on pollution, tobacco and betting to raise €200 million annually.

ICTU is proposing a series of new spending commitments that it says the Government should prioritise. Top of the list is "rebuilding our collective economic and social infrastructure", as well as raising the 'social wage' going to workers in the form of collective early years care and education, education, health, transport, and housing services. 

In its pre-budget submission, ICTU says its position is that the level of public spending is manifestly inadequate when set within the context of the ongoing crises in housing and health. "Congress therefore proposes that all the remaining budgetary or 'net fiscal space' for 2020 should go towards increased public spending."

"Now is the time to invest in our people, our public services, and our infrastructure," Patricia King, General Secretary of Congress, said. "A substantial increase in productive investment is the only way we can ensure our future prosperity in a sustainable and inclusive way."

She said achieving these goals means abandoning populist attempts to cut taxes –  "such policies will help overheat the economy and will actually harm workers in the long run. 

"Indeed, we propose new taxes on capital, particularly on wealth, in order to raise money for productive social and economic investment."