As Russian inflation soars and real wages fall, a Communist Party lawmaker has proposed legislation intended to improve the lives of working people by raising Russia's flat-rate income tax to 16 percent from the current 13 percent.
The bill, introduced to parliament by communist lawmaker Nikolai Ryabov, drew a flurry of ridicule on Russia's social networks after the government's official newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper reported the proposal Sunday.
"Making people pay three [percentage points] more in taxes during a crisis, when store prices have increased two or three times, is just the right thing," a commentator on the Ekho Moskvy radio website quipped Monday.
The bill, however, would also make Russians who earn the minimum wage or less per month exempt from paying income taxes, according to the document posted on the State Duma website.
Raising the income tax was intended to even out the "disparity of income among various population groups" in the country, Ryabov argued in an explanatory note accompanying the bill.
If passed, the new tax rate would mostly affect the highest-earning 10 percent of the country's population, he added.