A joint proposal by the Democratic and Liberal parties to cut salaries tax to the 2002 level has failed to gain support from other lawmakers. Under the proposal, salaries tax - raised by the government in two stages from last year - would return to the previous level in two stages by 2007, increasing the personal tax allowance from $100,000 to $108,000. The top tax rate would go back to 15 per cent from 17 per cent. But the proposal was not supported by most other pro-democracy legislators. Welfare sector legislator Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung said he wanted to see a tax increase rather than a reduction, as underprivileged groups needed even more help amid the economic recovery. 'How can we talk about tax cuts when Comprehensive Social Security Assistance payments are being cut? There is room for tax increases for rich people,' Dr Cheung said. Barrister Ronny Tong Ka-wah, of the Article 45 Concern Group, said the time was not right for tax cuts as the economy had not fully recovered. 'We should not only consider the interest of certain sectors and neglect the interest of all Hong Kong,' he said. 'The government claims it lacks money to spend on the poor. How can we cut taxes?' Legislators from the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong also said a tax cut would be unrealistic as the apparent rise in government income had come mainly from land sales.