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Challenge launched against stamp duty reform and media funding

The left-wing committee wants to stop a planned reform of stamp duty in Switzerland. Keystone/Anthony Anex

Opponents of the planned partial abolition of a tax on financial transactions in Switzerland are seeking to challenge it to a nationwide vote.

This content was published on June 29, 2021 - 14:50
swissinfo.ch/urs

Left-wing parties including the Social Democrats and the Greens as well as trade unions on Tuesday launched the collection of the necessary signatures to try to veto a parliamentary decision by parliament earlier this month.

Cédric Wermuth, a senior Social Democrat, said the planned scrapping of stamp dutyExternal link on newly created equity would lead to a shortfall of annual revenue of at least CHF250 million ($273 million).

Daniel Lampart of the Trade Union Federation criticised that the abolition of a capital duty on equity contributions to Swiss companies would benefit only a small but wealthy group.

Opponents argue the reformExternal link is the first step in a series of tax reductions on financial services by banks and insurance companies which would cost a total of CHF2.2 billion – money needed to fight climate change.

The Federal Tax Administration levies a stamp duty primarily on securities trading, on newly created equity and insurance transactions.

Supporters of the abolition argue stamp duty is a serious competitive disadvantage for the Swiss finance industry.

Media funding

Also on Tuesday another committee launched its campaign to force a nationwide vote against public funding of private media.

The committeeExternal link slammed the financial package as “unconstitutional” and damaging for democracy and competition.

The group argues that the independence and credibility of the media and every single journalist are at stake.

Earlier this month parliament approved a financial package worth CHF120 million annually over the next seven years to support print and online products as well as publications of institutions and organisations.

Currently private media receive CHF50 million in indirect subsidies.

However, local publishers offering freesheets and online services would be excluded from the subsidies, according to the referendum committee, made up mainly of members of the centre-right Radical-Liberal Party.

Both committees have 100 days to gather at least 50,000 signatures to force a referendum.

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