The National Council does not want to tax the richest 1% of Swiss people. He rejected Thursday by 123 votes against 62 the initiative “99%” of the Young Socialists without opposing him a counter-project. The left did not succeed in bending the bourgeois majority.
The initiative “reduce taxes on wages, tax capital equitably” wants to tax at 150% the shares of capital income (dividends, interest, etc.) above a certain amount. The text does not articulate a number, but the initiators propose 100,000 francs. Small savers would thus not be affected.
Currently, this income is taxed at only 60%, accuse the initiators. According to them, nearly five to ten billion francs could be redistributed by involving the richest 1% of the Swiss.
This sum could be used to reduce taxes for people with small or medium salaries or to finance social benefits, such as crèches, health insurance subsidies or training.
“Take the money where it is”
The left mobilized in vain in favor of his initiative. In this country, there does not seem to be any more money for major ecological or social projects, and yet it is not the money that is lacking, indignant Tamara Funiciello (PS / BE), denouncing the concentration wealth.
“We have gone too far in the injustices and inequalities”, added Pierre-Yves Maillard (PS / VD). How to continue to provide public services in the face of the public finance deficits that await us following the coronavirus crisis, he added, pointing to “the record dividends” that large companies will post in a few months.
We should not be ashamed to take the money where it is to give it back to the public community, to the people, to the democratic debate, added Ada Marra (PS / VD).
No hatred of the rich
In this context, Petra Gössi (PLR / SZ) criticized the “dangerous” position of the initiators, which could widen the gap between the workers and the rich, whom they accuse of doing nothing.
It is not about jealousy or hatred of the rich, the concentration of wealth spreads poverty, replied Baptiste Hurni (PS / NE).
Are we moving towards an “American-style” society, asked Sophie Michaud Gigon (Verts / VD), while Léonore Porchet (Verts / VD) recalled the lines of people observed in Geneva during the pandemic to obtain ” bread and pasta “. “We want decent wages, not food aid,” she said.
“Stop with the class struggle,” replied Damien Cottier (PLR / NE). The vast majority of Swiss companies are SMEs, their bosses do not sit around waiting for capital to grow, argued the Neuchâtelois.
According to him, the initiative would amount to weakening SMEs. It would penalize start-ups that offer equity stakes because they cannot pay high salaries. It would further increase the tax on wealth which is already very high.
Thomas Burgherr (UDC / AG) denounced an “extreme” and “populist” initiative, Jean-Pierre Grin (UDC / VD) a “confiscatory” text. The initiative would particularly affect family businesses and would have serious consequences for SMEs.
If accepted, Switzerland’s economic location would lose its appeal enormously. Foreign investors could give up coming to settle in Switzerland, Swiss investors could leave the country, this is really not the right time, pleaded Pierre-André Page (UDC / FR).
Leo Müller (PDC / LU) for his part recalled that the current system is very progressive: 1% of taxpayers pay 40% of income from direct federal tax. If they left the country, the burden would fall on the middle class.
The initiative does not only concern the richest 1% of the population, but many taxpayers who own real estate or stakes in a company, added Michel Matter (Vert’libérale / GE).
The right also denounced an attack on the fiscal autonomy of the cantons and raised several formal reasons for rejecting the initiative. This does not mention the floor from which income should be taxed, it does not specify which income is concerned, or which social transfers should be made.