It was supposed to force millionaires to pay tax rates of up to 75 percent: “Cuba without the sun,” as described by a critic from the banking industry. Socialist President Francois Hollande’s super tax was rejected by a court, rewritten and ultimately netted just a sliver of its projected proceeds. It ends on Wednesday and will not be renewed.
The tax of 75 percent on income earned above one million euros ($1.22 million) was promoted in 2012 by the newly-elected Hollande as a symbol of a fairer policy for the middle class, a financial contribution of the wealthiest at a time of economic crisis. But the government was never able to fully implement the measure. It was overturned by France’s highest court and rewritten as a 50 percent tax paid by employers.
Faced with a stalling economy and rising unemployment, the government reversed course in 2014 with a plan to cut payroll taxes by up to 40 billion euros ($49 billion) by 2017, hoping to boost hiring and attract more investments. Ultimately, while the super tax affected only a small number of taxpayers, it triggered huge protests in business, sporting and artistic communities.
How about that? Margaret Thatcher, as usual, was right: