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99% initiative Swiss likely to vote on capital tax reform plan

Committee members of 99% initiative behind a wall of boxes containing signatures

The campaigners say 99% of tax payers shoulder the burden of the wealthiest citizens in Switzerland.

(© Keystone/Peter Klaunzer)

The leftwing Young Socialist group has handed in the necessary signatures to force a nationwide vote on its proposal to increase tax on capital revenue in Switzerland.

The initiative intends to tax dividends and interest on wealth by a factor of 1.5 compared with regular income tax.

The campaigners argue that the wealth gap between the rich and average-earners has been growing dramatically, especially because of low tax competition between the 26 cantons which levy taxes autonomously.

“It is time to introduce a fair tax system. Ninety-nine percent of the population must earn a salary to make a living. They work for the wealthiest 1% of the citizens,” said Tamara Funiciello, president of the Young Socialistsexternal link, on Tuesday.

The extra revenue should be used to ease the tax burden on low and medium-income earners, according to the initiative committee.

The group said it had collected more than 134,000 signatures during its campaign for tax justice, which began in October 2017.

Parliament still has to debate the initiative before the government sets a date for a vote.

Pension benefits

In a separate move, a people’s initiative has been launched to overhaul the mandatory occupational pension scheme.

The campaigners, including mainly rightwing and centre-right politicians, want to introduce a flexible minimum interest rate on accumulated pension capital, scrapping the current rate fixed at 6.8%.

The aim is to adapt pension benefits and the retirement age to general life expectancy in a bid to create a “sustainable and fair system”, according to the initiative committee.

It has 18 months to collect the necessary signatures to force a nationwide vote, following the publication of the initiative text by the Federal Chancelleryexternal link.

The mandatory occupational pension scheme is part of Switzerland’s three-tier social security system, but experts have warned that the growing number of older people is putting the onus on the young generation to finance pensions.

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