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“It would be stupid”: Bruno Le Maire once again brushes aside any tax increase

It's clear.

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“It would be stupid”: Bruno Le Maire once again brushes aside any tax increase

It's clear. The Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire repeated on Tuesday that the government would not increase taxes, an option which divides the majority after the announcement of a slippage in the public deficit in 2023. “We will not increase taxes. taxes in France, for a simple reason: it would be contrary to our national interest,” he says in an article published in the economic daily Les Échos. Bruno Le Maire thus refuses the use of any “exceptional tax, surcharge, temporary tax or yield tax”, explicitly targeting the tax on superprofits defended by part of the opposition and the majority, on which Prime Minister Gabriel Attal had declared “not to have dogma”.

“I refuse to give in to the customary ease of difficult times,” insists Bruno Le Maire, arguing that it would not be fair to increase taxes, including on the richest, “in a country where 10% of taxpayers pay taxes. three-quarters of the income tax. “Do we really want to worry households, by suggesting that there could be the slightest tax increase? This would be economically stupid in a country where the savings rate - at 18% - is already one of the highest of all developed countries.

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However, “we are prepared to toughen the contribution on the income of energy companies, whose performance was too low in 2023,” reaffirms the minister. “With the Prime Minister, we want to fight against all rents,” he said. The Minister of the Economy denies protecting the wealthiest, claiming to have already “implemented the tax on digital giants, which are among the richest companies in the world”, as well as “the global minimum tax, which will make it possible to tax large multinationals at least 15%.”

The public deficit reached 5.5% of GDP in 2023, well above the 4.9% expected by the government, a slippage that the latter attributes to lower revenues than expected. Public revenues increased by only 2% in 2023 after 7.4% in 2022. Taxes alone (before deduction of tax credits) were even “almost at a standstill”, according to INSEE, increasing by 0.3% after 7.9% in 2022.

Enough to encourage some, like the President of the National Assembly Yaël Braun-Pivet (Renaissance), to advocate an increase in taxes on super profits or super dividends. Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced Tuesday the establishment of a working group to come up with proposals “by June” to tax “rents”. Last Tuesday, Bruno Le Maire had already assured of his “intact” and “total” determination to bring the French public deficit below 3% in 2027, without increasing taxes.

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