Wealthy Austrians have gotten together to demand their government tax them more.
In a cover story in the Austrian weekly magazine Profil, a dozen or so bankers, CEOs, real estate moguls and inheritors say they have a civic duty to give back to a country that’s allowed 70% of its wealth to concentrate in the hands of the top 10%, according to France’s Libération.fr.
“A wealth tax is not only a question of morality, but also of pragmatism,” says Christian Köck, a health economist and businessman who also inherited a large sum. “I don’t want to be rich in a society that can’t pay to invest in a fair education system.”
Austria lacks an inheritance tax, and wealth brackets are not scaled. Property and rent taxes are practically non-existent.
“Austria, country of millionaires. Austria, country of inequalities,” the Profil feature begins. “Nowhere in Europe work is so highly taxed, while other assets so greatly spared. A skewed situation, which even for many wealthy seems prohibitive. So they are now demanding, in our profile, higher taxes on wealth – and to lower those on work.”
Social-Democratic Chancellor Werner Faymann has proposed a “millionaire’s tax” that would involve creating an inheritance tax while lowering income taxes, although Libération predicts it could get held up by the more conservative members of the country’s ruling coalition.
Let’s see what happens.