EUROPE: Austria’s rich must be taxed, says social minister.

As published on euractiv.com, Monday 13 June, 2022.

The wealth of the richest 5% of Austrians must be taxed to help finance increased government spending caused by the pandemic and inflation, reiterated social affairs minister Johannes Rauch in an interview Saturday.

To redistribute wealth, 450,000 people in Austria should pay, the social and health minister from the Green party said in an interview with TV station ATV on Saturday (11 June).

“It is now those 5%, if it is 5% at all, who have had huge increases in their wealth over the last 15 years, who must make a fair contribution, including to managing costs and dealing with these crises,” he said.

Rauch who pointed to 400 people possessing one-third of all assets in Austria, called the situation “obscene” and “not tenable”.

Additional state expenditure also includes the €150 bonus to Austrian households, which is intended to counteract the increase in energy prices. This bonus, which can be redeemed via the next annual electricity bill, is also to be increased, Rauch added.

In addition, an anti-inflation package is to be launched soon. Accordingly, family allowances or unemployment benefits will be adjusted to inflation.

The Greens’ coalition partner, the conservative party, does not favour a wealth tax. Already at the end of April, Rauch failed with similar demands because of the ÖVP’s strict ‘no’.

The liberal party NEOS also opposes a wealth tax, calling it “economic madness”.

The Green Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler has been talking about “millionaires’ taxes” because of the COVID-19 crisis since the ruling coalition was formed.

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