Dec. 28 - Communist Cuba will start collecting taxes at the beginning of the year. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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The tax man cometh to Cuba. As of the first of year -- for the first time ever the Communist government will start collecting taxes.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) YONELDIS MOJENA, 35-YEAR-OLD TAXI DRIVER, SAYING:
"Well, I think the economy is going to get better, because when you bring in money the economy gets better. Why are the developed countries so developed? Because they support themselves."
The landmark regulations will change the relationship that Cubans with their government. They are also a signal that market-oriented reforms are here to stay.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) JUAN GONZALEZ, 47-YEAR OLD RETIRED LANDOWNER, SAYING:
"The revolution can't continue with that load and everyone knows it. All of Cuba knows we are the only ones who don't pay taxes, and now we have to pay taxes because we need that money to invest in other goods that will benefit all of us
The government also envisions replacing subsidies for all with targeted welfare, meaning that the largely tax-free life under a paternalistic government is on its way out.