LA PAZ -- President-elect Evo Morales plans on imposing a new tax on the wealthy after he takes office in January, his future vice president said Saturday.
Alvaro Garcia Linera's comments come a day after Morales, in a meeting of mining leaders, reaffirmed his commitment to getting rid of Bolivia's free market-oriented economic policy - one of his central campaign promises. He didn't provide details of the proposed changes.
The proposed tax would apply to those with more than $300,000 in property, said Garcia Linera.
He said the tax proposal, which was still being ironed out, would be a top priority for the new government but would differ from the tax hike that sparked protests in 2003 and led to the resignation of President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada.
"We would be crazy to impose the kind of tax that we fought years ago," Garcia Linera said.
The 2003 measure was a progressive income tax whereas the proposed tax would only apply to better-off people.
Economist Carlos Villegas, top adviser for the incoming government, said Bolivia's free market approach has driven up unemployment.
Villegas said Morales' economic team was still formulating its reform plan.
Finance Minister Waldo Gutierrez said Friday that economic conditions were favorable for the new government.
The country's economy is healthy by Bolivian standards, with 2005 gross domestic product growth of 3.9% and similar performance expected in 2006. GDP expanded by 3.6% in 2004 and inflation is forecast to end this year at 4.2%, down from 4.6% last year.
Garcia Linera said that although Bolivia's economic indicators looked good, poverty continued to deepen under the old model.
Morales won recent elections with more popular support than any president since democracy was restored in the Andean nation two decades ago. On Friday he had 53.7% with 99.8% of votes counted. He takes office on Jan. 22. AP