The Meloni government is betting all its cards on relaunching the birth rate, also in an electoral key, in view of the European elections in spring 2024.
And on the Italian demographics a political race is taking place entirely within the majority between the Lega and the Brothers of Italy. The Northern League’s Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti, in a parliamentary hearing on the Def, the Economic and Finance Document that has just been approved, said: «We need shock action. We are not talking about incentives, but about eliminating disincentives to the birth rate”. Among these is the work that does not exist for women: “We must encourage the rate of participation in work: it is a long and gradual process”. In the meantime, “we cannot tax singles like parents, because those with children bear costs that alter fiscal progressivity”.
Hence the idea of cutting taxes for those who have children. But the accounts do not add up. The Def has identified 3 billion to be used to further cut the tax wedge for employees, “2 points for someone”, says Giorgetti. And another 4.5 billion for a first hint of tax reform in 2024. The Def also says that the single allowance, which replaced the deductions for children and the various bonuses, will increase from 2024. And that in its first year of life cost 16 billion went to 5.7 million families and their 9.65 million children.
No one in the Meloni government wants to dismantle the single check and touch these 16 billion, as Repubblica explains. So? The League is thinking of an integration: the undersecretary Massimo Bitonci has proposed to give 10 thousand euros of new deductions a year to everyone born up to 18 years or at the age of graduation, regardless of income. Calculating the incentive for the hypothetical 400,000 children in 2024 (393,000 last year), this means a cumulative expenditure of 4 billion a year: 4 for the first, 8 for the second, 12 for the third and so on. It seems impossible for any government. Yesterday the Parliamentary Budget Office called for a certain caution: “Many coverage is difficult to find”. And it was referring only to the chapters of the Def.
Here is the idea of the experts closest to the premier. Announce closely, in a few months, a strong incentive for births to be paid in 2024 and equal on average between 2 and 4 thousand euros per year for each additional child. At the beginning it would only be a dry, one-off bonus on the current account: like Renzi’s 80 euros. Then afterwards it would be absorbed in the form of a deduction from Irpef, with the tax reform that the Deputy Minister of Economy Maurizio Leo is carrying out. The idea is to cut taxes for one of the parents, preferably the second earner who is usually a woman, as an incentive for employment.
The cut would increase as the additional child grows. In the case of two children, the fees would be halved or reduced by two thirds (50 to 66% discount). If you decide to have a third or fourth child, taxes would be zero. For an average income of 22,500 euros, this would mean a benefit of between 2,000 and 4,180 euros. Imagining an average discount of 3,000 euros each for 400,000 newborns, we arrive at 1.2 billion in spending in the first year, 7.2 in the three-year period. Not extreme.
It will be discussed at the States General of the Natality of 11 and 12 May, organized by the Foundation for the Natality chaired by Gigi De Palo. Appointment watched very carefully by the Meloni government.