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Wealthy Germans launch petition for higher taxes

AFP · 22 Oct 2009, 15:24

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

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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).

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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.

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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."
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