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Two-headed proposal Ministers make the case for tax and pension reform package

ministers at a press conference

Two ministers, two policies, one vote: Alain Berset (left) and Ueli Maurer.

(© Keystone / Peter Klaunzer)

The Swiss government has launched its campaign in favour of the upcoming national vote on a reform of the corporate tax and pension systems.

Ministers for the interior and finance, Alain Berset and Ueli Maurer, presented their case at a news conference on Monday, urging citizens to vote ‘yes’ on May 19.

Berset and Maurer warned that rejecting the two-headed package in May would lead to legal uncertainty and taxation pressure from the international community, which could harm the Swiss economy.

The joint reform proposal, which follows the failure of two separate projects in 2017 (see here and here) aims to simultaneously bring corporate tax law into line with international standards while bolstering the pension system as it struggles with high expenses and an ageing population.

The government faces opposition both from the left (some of whom claim that the project is too generous towards business) and from part of the right (who are unhappy about the haphazard combination of corporation tax and pension).

The bill passed through parliament successfully last September but the 50,000 signatures needed to force a referendum on the issue were handed in by a left-wing group in January.

+ The Swiss three-pillar system, explained

The major linkage between the two issues is that for each franc that the Swiss state or cantons lose due to the reform of corporate tax, a concessionary franc will be paid them by way of the basic state old-age and survivors’ insurance scheme.

The government foresees a CHF2-billion ($1.9 billion) injection into the old age pension scheme over the next few years as an outcome of the reform.

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