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article imageHigher taxes demanded by a group of rich Germans

By Kay Mathews     Oct 24, 2009 in World
A group of wealthy Germans is petitioning Chancellor Angela Merkel to increase taxes on those with personal fortunes of more than 500,000 euros ($750,000). The effort is an attempt to alleviate the budget crisis and target the money to social services.
An initiative by the group “Vermoegende für eine Vermoegensabgabe” (Wealthy people in favor of a wealth tax) calls for the reintroduction of a wealth tax, reports Deutsche Welle. The group favors a "five percent tax for two years followed by a reduction to one percent for those who have personal fortunes of more than 500,000 euros ($750,000)."
Approximately 100 billion euros ($150 billion) would be generated by the move, according to “Vermoegende für eine Vermoegensabgabe.”
Retired doctor and founding member of the group, Dieter Lehmkuhl, told Deutsche Welle:
The gap between the poor and the rich in Germany has widened during the last 15 years. One of the reasons for this were past governments' tax reduction policies that favored businesses and the rich.
The "Vermoegende für eine Vermoegensabgabe" has 44 supporters who are demanding that German Chancellor Angela Merkel raise taxes. The group wants to see the money earmarked for projects in the areas of health care, education, environmental protection, and social welfare. The group does not want the money to go into the general budget.
According to the BBC, the petition, which will be presented to Chancellor Merkel states in part:
The path out of the crisis must be paved with massive investment in ecology, education and social justice. Those who had made a fortune through inheritance, hard work, hard-working, successful entrepreneurship, or investment should contribute by paying more to alleviate the crisis.
BBC reports that one of the signatories to the petition, Peter Vollmer, said the tax would be "a viable and socially acceptable way out of the flagrant budget crisis."
Among the group's concerns are the vast amounts of euros used to save banks. Lehmkuhl was quoted as saying, “We don't think the general public can be made to shoulder the burden when these people have not caused the crisis, and haven't profited from the boom that preceded the [sic] it."
The groups has also contacted a social business group, entrepreneurs in green economy, and a network for fair taxation in an effort "to push their agenda on a bigger scale."
More about Germany, Taxes, Petition, Increase
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