Schroeder calls for higher taxes for the wealthy

27th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

27 June 2005, BERLIN - Seeking to assuage leftist grassroots voters, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder added his weight on Monday to a coalition call for higher taxes for wealthy Germans.

27 June 2005

BERLIN - Seeking to assuage leftist grassroots voters, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder added his weight on Monday to a coalition call for higher taxes for wealthy Germans.

Speaking on German television from Washington, where he is on a lightning visit to the White House, Schroeder said, "I believe that a lot of people who are much, much better off than the average person ought to be patriotic enough to shoulder a greater share of the burden."

His remarks came as the Greens party, junior members in his centre-left coalition government, agreed with Schroeder's Social Democrats on Monday on a plank of their election platform that would see individuals with annual income of more than EUR 250,000 or married couples earning more than EUR 500,000 handed a tax surcharge of three per cent.

The revenue, estimated at about EUR 1.7 billion per year, would be invested in training, research and new technology.

Schroeder also formally applied on Monday for a vote of confidence to be taken in the Bundestag parliament at the end of this week, the first move towards a premature general election in Germany in September.

His taxation remarks were seen as a dramatic about-face by a leader who has seen his standing with the electorate evaporate over the past two years by promoting unpopular economic reforms, including cuts to jobless benefits and more co-payments at the doctor's office.

Although most Germans tell pollsters they recognize the need to trim the lavish social welfare system, the moves have sparked a bitter outcry and the SPD is scoring its lowest level of support since World War II.

In the face of an election he is widely expected to lose to his conservative challenger Angela Merkel, Schroeder has been at pains to correct the impression - widespread in his own party - that the affluent have emerged largely unscathed from the reform drive.

DPA

Subject: German news

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