Abracadabra! Romania witches win tax fight for now

The Associated PressSeptember 9, 2010 

BUCHAREST, Romania – Abracadabra, we'll turn all of you into toads!

That's what Romanian senators may have been fearing when they rejected a proposal to tax witches and fortune tellers.

Lawmakers Alin Popoviciu and Cristi Dugulescu of the ruling Democratic Liberal Party drafted a law where witches and fortune tellers would have to produce receipts, and would also be held liable for wrong predictions, a measure which was part of the government's drive to increase revenue.

Romania's Senate voted down the proposal Tuesday. Popoviciu claimed lawmakers were frightened of being cursed.

It's unclear if Popoviciu and Dugulescu will try to redraft the law.

Maria Campina, a well-known Romanian witch, told Realitatea TV Thursday it is difficult to tax thousands of fortune tellers and witches partly because of the erratic sums of money they receive.

Romania is in a severe economic downturn and is trying to raise revenue from taxes. The government hiked sales tax from 19 to 24 percent, and slashed public sector wages by one-fourth.

In 2009, Romania negotiated a euro20 billion ($26 billion) loan with the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the World Bank to help pay state wages and pensions last year, when the country's economy shrank by 7.1 percent.

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