It took 203 days into 2017 for the nation of Greece to pay off its collective tax obligations to its government – a full 15 days later than it took in 2016, suggesting a greater and growing burden on taxpayers. July 23 marked the first day of the year that Greek people worked for themselves and not the state, meaning that since January 1, all earnings hypothetically went to funding the Greek government.
In its third year of research, the Liberty Forum of Greece (KEFiM), an Atlas Network partner based in Athens, continues to foster support for policies that promote economic freedom with its latest study about Tax Freedom Day 2017. KEFiM hopes to increase awareness of Tax Freedom Day and the burden taxpayers face.
Greek taxpayers are paying too much for minimal returns from the government. Alexander Skouras, the incoming president of KEFiM, explains the importance of the organization’s work, stating, “We are fighting for a Greece that allows its people to flourish … a Greece that is forward looking, innovative, and competitive.”
KEFiM released this year’s report during a press conference held just before the tax filing deadline in Greece, at the peak of taxpayer dissatisfaction.
This year, the mainstream Greek media was driven into a frenzy over “The Great Theft.” KEFiM garnered more than 80 media hits (read articles here and here), two news paper front page spreads, and heavy discussion by both political parties on this topic. Adonis Georgiadis, vice president of the center-right party in Greece, called KEFiM’s study “the most important news story that concerns all of us.” Additionally, the leader of the Greek opposition party, Kyriakos Mistotakis, hand delivered KEFiM’s study to parliamentary leaders while promising to cut spending and lower taxes.
In a recent poll, Greeks seem to be increasingly in support of free-market solutions to their economic turmoil. A local Greek television channel took to the streets to discuss the 15-day pushback of Tax Freedom Day, and also found frustration with the current tax system.
In hopes of more Greeks giving free markets, rule of law, and limited government a chance, Skouras explains, “The latest signs from the public allow for some cautious optimism.”
Launching public awareness campaigns about tax freedom days has been an effective tool to educate taxpayers about the collective burden states impose upon their citizens, as the Bulgarian Libertarian Society, along with the Institute for Market Economics, both Bulgarian Atlas Network partners, demonstrated with their recent Tax Freedom Day event in Sofia that drew over 400 attendees.
Pamplona-based Civismo even calculated a “Tax Freedom Age” in a report last year, finding that Spanish workers entering the workforce at age 16 on average must work until age 43 to pay off their total lifetime tax contribution – a whopping 27 years of their lives.