Le Crisis and March 1, 1878 to March 1, 2012
That is how Italy’s budget crisis is referred to here, except it sounds like creesis. There has been much talk on the Expat boards about it. Here is one condensed summary (from someone else not me) of what might happen and how Expats will be effected.
I think that the two financial maneuvers that will affect us all pretty much are the reintroduction of ICI as property tax and it will be applied in a 4% to the property estimates, BUT all property estimates will be raised by 60% for next year, and the hiked up IVA starting in June from 10 to 12% and from 21 to 23%. BUT the IVA is dependent upon how much they manage to get from the other measures. If the other measures provide enough cashflow, then IVA will be left untouched. Watch out if you have an SUV or a large car, because the car tax that is based on the engine kwatts has been lowered from the limit that was applied in the financial maneuver this summer.
Pensions will affect some of us who work here in Italy. I think that we will basically never get to retire at all as the intention is to keep pushing retirement ages back until they reach 75 or thereabouts.
There are also going to be higher medical "tickets" to pay and the towns will be upping the costs of all the services, from garbage to water to gas in the small to medium towns, while the large "Municipali" that deal with services in the large cities will probably be privatized and also raise their costs.
The one that has most definitely effected Ben was his medical ‘tickets’. The ticket is essentially a referral to a specialist. Since I am not yet 65 I pay for some referrals. For me, I think I can have a free mammogram and pap smear every other year but since my Mother had cancer in both areas I kind of like to have these tests every year. So sometimes I pay for those tests. I always pay for my blood tests and visits to the dermatologist. Since Ben turned 65 he has not had to pay for anything. Payment is asked for when you make the appointment and the amount is like a co-pay about 20 Euros. The last time I went to schedule some appointments for us the very nice man explained that things had changed and Ben needed a new form and gave me the sheet below.
Essentially it says that you need a certificate of exemption or you have to pay. There were 4 categories of exemption. Ben fits into category 1, that he is over 65 years old and our earnings are less than 36,000 Euros annually. To get the exemption he had to apply to one of the 8 locations here in the area. None were in Monte San Savino. We ruled out the two in Arezzo as possibly being overcrowded and/or difficult to find. So we settled on going to the one in Foiano, a town south of us, most noted for its large Carnevale celebrations and pumpkin festival. The office only has hours in the morning until 12:15.
I carefully gathered our file known as ‘every piece of paper we have ever owned’ and we planned to go on Wednesday, November 30. (An aside for those considering moving here or probably to any foreign country. You need every official certificate that has been part of your life and if you are applying for citizenship you might need these papers for relatives too. And translated in to Italian. And tax documents. And bank statements. We have copies or originals of them in several places, but there is one easy to scoop up file if there is ever a fire/earthquake/flood/invasion or whatever. Hopefully that file would make it out of the house with me.) Back to Wednesday morning. I have staggered awake. We are sitting in the car and it won’t start. Dead battery! By the time we get this sorted it is too late to go. We try again on Wednesday, December 7, the day before a holiday. We make it to Foiano and with some riding around and misdirection by Google maps we finally find the place and it is not too far to walk inside and a place to sit for Ben. We get inside at about 11:15 and start to wait. After a bit of waiting I realize that no one is getting called in and there are at least 8 people in front of us. And this is the day before a holiday. And we are dependent on the good nature of whoever processes us so I certainly don’t want to make them stay late if their holiday is supposed to start at 12:15. I roust Ben from the book he is listening to and tell him that we are going to come back again later.
So, the day after the holiday, Friday, December 9 we are off at the near crack of dawn (at least for me) to try again. After over 2 hours of waiting our turn comes up. We sit at a desk and fill out one form for the very pleasant lady. She copies Ben’s Italian ID. She gives us two pages…
One is a receipt and one is the form we need. I really can’t tell much difference so when I make his next appointment I’ll find out which one is important. And that was it. No showing tax forms or bank statements or anything from our ‘every piece of paper we ever owned file’ but we got two more pieces to add to it and Ben should not have to pay for his appointments. But if I had not carried that file with me I am sure that we would have needed something from it.
And one other way we will feel the ‘creesis’, fuel costs jumped in one day from 1.47 Euros a liter to 1.65 Euros a liter. A new tax I guess.
So what does this, that I wrote back in December, have to do with March 1, 1878? Well that was the day that my Italian grandfather, Anthony Iaccarino (later to be come Tony Taccarino or Pop-Pop to all his many grandchildren) was born in Meta, Italy. He went to sea and to work at the age of 12. Later when he was 26 he married and then emigrated to New Jersey; his wife following a year later. They had a large family and a relatively, comfortable and happy life there. My father along with others was born. He grew up, got married and had me. I grew up, got married, got divorced, married someone else and realized that the ‘promise land’ of my grandparents and my parents was not a ‘promise land’ for me. So I became an Italian citizen and emigrated back to Italy.
As a relatively new citizen of Italy, for a long time I felt guilty about accepting health benefits. But then I realized that my Grandfather worked from the time he was 12 years old until he was 26 years old for the Italian Merchant Marines and never saw any benefit or pension from that. And we contribute to the economy by spending between 90 to 95% of our income here in Italy without taking a paying job from anyone. Hopefully it is a fair trade. And now as we approach March 1, please join me when I raise my glass of wine to toast and thank my Pop-Pop.
The banner on our house in Virginia announcing my Italian citizenship.