“The ENFIA real estate tax is so unjust that it cannot be corrected, and it must be abolished,” said SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras at the Thessaloniki International Fair in September, 2014.
“The ENFIA tax is like a guillotine, an irrational tax,” Tsipras cried four months later. He pledged that if he came to power he would abolish the tax for the overwhelming majority of primary residences.
Many believed him, and many voted for him for exactly that reason, to take revenge on the Samaras-Venizelos government.
Even in his platform programme, Tsipras assured the public that he would abolish the ENFIA tax as of 2015, and that he would replace it with a tax on large real estate holdings. Then, he was confronted by bitter reality.
Not only was the ENFIA tax not abolished, it was made permanent. “It is not the most unjust tax,” Tsipras said as prime minister last September.
That is why it will be hiked for nearly one million households this year. Another four million will pay the same tax as last year, and one-and-a-half million will pay about 50 euros less real estate tax this year.
The adventure does not end here. The prime minister has not said the last word.
At the Thessaloniki International Fair next month, one would not put it past Tsipras to start all over again – announcing the abolition of the ENFIA tax, if and when he is re-elected of course.
Until then, he may need to raise the ENFIA tax once again, as the tax valuation of properties (which determines the amount of tax) will be hiked two more times. Moreover, Greece has committed itself to maintaining high primary surpluses.
Still, of what significance is all this? As the government reminds us, next week we will exit the bailout memorandum, and at the end of the tunnel, one can faintly discern socialism.