• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Wealthy Germans launch petition for higher taxes

AFP · 22 Oct 2009, 15:24

Published: 22 Oct 2009 15:24 GMT+02:00

The text, posted at www.appell-vermoegensabgabe.de, has been signed by 44 people who want to convince the government of newly re-elected Chancellor Angela Merkel to raise their taxes.

For retired doctor Dieter Lehmkuhl, 66, it is time the wealthy came to the aid of their country. He reckons that if the 2.2 million Germans who have personal fortunes of more than €500,000 ($750,000) paid a tax of five percent this year and next, it would provide the state with €100 billion.

Lehmkuhl got the idea when Berlin stumped up billions of euros to save banks and give the recession-hit economy a boost.

"It made me mad to think that we suddenly found all this money for the banks, money that we did not have before for urgent programmes like education and the environment," the left of centre weekly Die Zeit quoted him as saying.

The former doctor would like Germany to have its own version of the the US group United for a Fair Economy (UFA), which includes around 700 wealthy US residents, according to the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel.

His plan would see a five percent tax for two years to fund specific projects followed by a reduction to one percent, the level of the tax when it was abandoned in 1997. Germany still slaps a 25 percent levy on capital gains.

One signer, 69-year-old Peter Vollmer told AFP he backed the petition because he had inherited "a lot of money I do not need."

Following her September 27 election victory, Merkel and her conservative Christian Democrats are currently locked in talks hammering out a common programme with their new partners, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP).

Story continues below…

The FDP promised €35 billion in tax cuts in its election campaign, but with Germany's public finances shot to bits by the recession, Merkel's party is wary of agreeing to such reductions.

On Wednesday, Lehmkuhl, Vollmer and a few friends held a rally in the Tiergarten park in central Berlin, throwing fake banknotes into the air for photographers in what they called a bid to provoke discussion of the idea.

"It's really strange that so few people came," Vollmer said.

Your comments about this article

21:35 October 23, 2009 by Johnnysurf
Interesting Idea
10:39 October 24, 2009 by notelove2
what about distributing some of this money to musicians and artists who have projects - this used to be subsidized by the state, and this is an essential part of society
23:10 October 24, 2009 by vbi
It would be better if the money go to private charity or some organisation organised by the same rich people, oppose to going to the government where the money will be used more wasteful and less effective.
04:40 October 25, 2009 by kiwikraut
The world has gone mad ! The unbelieveable has happened, the rich want to pay more tax ! This crisis must be really really really painful on some of these upper crusties that they even play with the thought of surrendering some of their money for the good of the nation's economy.

But, they know business and the old saying: "What goes around comes around."
Today's headlines
The Local List
The 10 worst German cities for students to find digs
Photo: DPA

It's the start of autumn, which means the start of the university year. But along with the excitement comes the stress of finding housing - and in some glamorous locations this can be a nightmare.

German broadcaster sues Turkey over confiscated video
Akif Cagatay Kilic. Photo: DPA

German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle said Monday it had filed a civil complaint after a Turkish minister's office confiscated a taped video interview with him.

Germany's 'James Bond' goes on trial over tax evasion
Werner Mauss. Photo: DPA.

Germany's former top spy, Werner Mauss, went on trial on Monday accused of hiding millions of euros from authorities.

Germany holds first national 'mermaiding' championship
Photo: DPA

Ariel would be proud.

Gallery
15 pics that prove Germany is totally enchanting in autumn
The Max-Eyth-See in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.

As summer fades into a distant memory and you start to begrudge trading Birkenstocks for boots, these pictures may help change your perspective on the new chill in the air.

Left politician who smuggled refugee could lose immunity
Diether Dehm. Photo: DPA.

Die Linke (Left Party) politician Diether Dehm could lose his immunity as an elected official after he admitted to smuggling a refugee into Germany.

Merkel party leader admits sexism is a problem
Jenna Behrends complained that a member of CDU's Berlin government had called her a "big sweet mouse" in front of a large group. Photo: Sophia Kembowski/dpa

A leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party admitted Sunday that it has a problem with sexism in its ranks.

Ethiopia's Bekele nears record in Berlin marathon win
Participants in the Berlin marathon take to the streets on Sunday. Photo:Paul Zinken/dpa

Kenenisa Bekele narrowly missed out on the world record on Sunday as the Ethiopian won the Berlin marathon ahead of former winner Wilson Kipsang.

Europe needs deals to send migrants home: Merkel
Angela Merkal poses with Bulgaria's Prime minister Boyko Borissov (L) and Austrian chancellor Christian Kern (R) in Vienna. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Europe needs to secure more deals to send rejected migrants home, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told counterparts in Vienna.

Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
6,513
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd