The Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Greens are both pushing for higher taxes on big earners, something that Friday’s Die Welt newspaper suggested would be supported by the majority of Germans.
Just 25 percent – the majority of whom earned over €5,000 a month – said they would not be in favour of a tax hike. Seventy two percent said they thought it was right for the tax burden to be increased on those with an unspecified “higher income”.
When asked what kind of taxes should be levied, 62 percent said they thought an assets tax increase was the way forward, while 53 percent thought more income tax would be better. Only 30 percent wanted to see inheritance tax increased.
While more than half of those asked were in favour of more asset tax, and the Greens in particular may be pushing for it, actually implementing a hike would likely be more difficult than imagined.
Former president of Germany’s constitutional court Hans-Jürgen Papier told Die Welt that such a change could conflict with the country’s constitution.
He noted that an earlier asset tax had been declared unconstitutional, and questioned whether there was enough legal room for manoeuvre to apply such a levy. The Constitutional Court’s rejection in 1995 ruled that the tax authorities could not take anything from an amount that had been built up from already-taxed income.
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called issues surrounding assets “politically dangerous” as changing the tax laws around them could leave some middle class families struggling to make ends meet.