Green Party Seeks to Tax Bads, Not Goods
|January 9, 2007||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Tax Resource Depletion, Not Personal Income
Greens in Germany Seek Green Tax Shift
Although the following news story arrived at The Progress Report without a byline, we have reason to believe the source is accurate.
Germany’s Greens, hoping to secure a role in government after next month’s election, on Monday announced hefty income tax cuts and the scrapping of nuclear power as top policy priorities.
The party, with whom the Social Democrats will probably have to cooperate if they are to oust Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s conservatives, also called for shorter working hours and overtime cuts as part of a package of job creation measures.
It said it would also seek heavier taxes on energy as a way of promoting more environmentally-friendly power forms. The proceeds of the new taxes would finance a cut in the high social security contributions levied on German wages.
“Only we can bring about a new start in politics after 16 years of this conservative-liberal government,” the party said in a news release before presenting the details of its policy package ahead of Germany’s September 27 general election.
Listing the abandonment of nuclear energy “as quickly as possible” as one of their main aims, the Greens said they would push for the immediate halt of all radioactive waste shipments across Germany and into neighbouring countries.
The Greens, whose six to seven percent share of the vote in current polls would be enough to allow the formation of an SPD-Green government, said they wanted to cut the basic rate of income tax to 18.5 percent from 25.9 percent, while raising the income threshold above which tax must be paid.
The party said it would be financed by scrapping tax breaks, giveaways and handouts available to those on higher incomes.
Other priorities included a reform of Germany’s tough citizenship laws and new moves to tackle drug addiction by decriminalising drug use.
On many points, the Greens’ policy priorities go in the same direction as those unveiled by the SPD two weeks ago.
The SPD also wants to cut taxes for low and average income families, and like the Greens it wants a so-called “alliance for jobs” in which trade unions and employers come together under government stewardship to discuss ways to create jobs.
The SPD party programme also commits it to scrapping nuclear power as soon as possible – but unlike the Greens’ proposal, it recommends no immediate measures in this area.
Traditionally seen as the SPD’s first choice as coalition partner, the Greens have criticised SPD chancellor candidate Gerhard Schroeder for recent comments suggesting he was considering a “grand coalition” with Kohl’s conservatives.
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