On May 21st, during a political talk show on Italian television, Silvio Berlusconi said that, under his governments, Italy reached the lowest tax to Gdp ratio in the last 20 years, getting to 39%. This is mostly true.
Did Berlusconi’s work really get to minimize this parameter? It must be pointed out that it’s hard to associate a certain tax burden to a government or another. Indeed, some political decisions have a delayed effect.
In this case, taking into consideration each Italian government in charge from 1999 to 2019, the claim turns out to be true: under Berlusconi’s second government, in 2005, Italy reached the 39% rate. Something that you couldn’t find until 2005 neither from 2006 until 2019. However, what Forza Italia’s leader stated is relatively true because – even if the lowest tax to Gdp ratio has to be considered his own achievement – it didn’t last for the whole period when Berlusconi was in charge.
Considering the data from the Ministry of Economy and Finance about 2018-19, by ISTAT (we’re talking about reports referred to 1999-2013, 2013-2015, 2016-2017) and by CGIA office in Mestre (page 6), we can notice that, during the second and third Berlusconi’s government (in charge from June 2001 to May 2006), tax to Gdp ratio regularly swang between 39.3% and 40.2%, decreasing to 39.1% just in 2005. A situation that can’t be found in the 4th Berlusconi’s government (in charge from May 2008 to November 2011): back then, tax to Gdp ratio swang between 41.3% and 41.6%. Even if it’s not that huge, there’s still a growth.
Therefore, looking at the comparisons between the figures, Berlusconi’s statement can be considered mostly true, because the minimum tax burden rate in the last 20 years has been reached under one of his governments (in 2005), while in the years 2006-2007, when Prodi cabinet was in charge, the rate went from 40.2% to 41.5%, in 2012-2013 (Monti and Letta cabinets) it reached 43.6%, from 2014 to 2017 (Renzi and Gentiloni cabinets) it swang from 43.3% to 42.2%; and finally, in 2018-2019, under Conte cabinet, tax burden rate was between 41.9% and 42.3%. That figure, anyway, cannot be considered a constant of each and every one of Berlusconi’s governments, just like he meant to say during his interview on Italian television on May 21st.
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