Austrian Politicians Fiercely Opposed to Wealth Tax
05 March, 2013
Even though Austria is among the eleven pioneers introducing the Robin Hood tax, according to Christoph Leitl, the President of the Austrian Economic Chamber (WK) and of the Austrian Peoples Party (VP) Economic Association (Wirtschaftsbund), enough is enough.
During his speech at Ottakringer brewery, Leitl has vividly warned against the introduction of a property tax in Austria that the Asutrias Social Democrats (SP) have unveiled last year. He confirmed that VP will reject plans to introduce inheritance, gift and wealth taxes in Austria, arguing that imposing those taxes would equal theft.
The SP used the results of recent study by the Austrian National Bank (OeNB) according to which the wealth in Austria is distributed very unevenly: 40% of households have net wealth of up to EUR 50,000 while just 11% have wealth in excess of EUR 500,000. The party plans to shift the tax burden from labour to capital, to introduce a new inheritance and gift tax in Austria for total inheritances in excess of EUR1m, and to introduce a tax for wealth over EUR1m. Furthermore, the party aims to limit the tax deduction applicable to managerial salaries higher than EUR 500,000 a year, and to ease banking secrecy in cases of suspected tax crimes.
Referring to the autumn parliamentary elections, Leitl stressed that instead of inventing new and increasing existing taxes, Austria must be talking about the future, so that Europe would stop loosing pace compared to other continents: The U.S. is gaining momentum, Asia is already on the fast track, while Europe is standing still on the hard shoulder, he said. Calls for a reduction in working hours, or the abolition of overtime were the wrong way.
He stated that it only diminishes the purchasing power of the individuals and suggested to look deeper in the German model of tax breaks for skilled professionals for renovation, maintenance and modernization work.
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