Sixteen of France’s wealthiest individuals have mimicked Warren Buffett’s call for an “exceptional tax levy” on the wealthy to help their country manage its debt burden.The announcement—published on the website of magazine Le Nouvel Observateur this week—surfaces just ahead a planned announcement by French President Nicolas Sarkozy on new austerity measures meant keep budget deficits under control.
According to WSJ, a public call for such a levy may be intended to paint a more positive picture of “les riches.” Billionaires—in particular, L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt—have recently come under fire for attempting to evade tax collection.
Here’s the English translation of their public appeal (via WSJ):
We, chairmen of companies and business leaders, business men and women, finance professionals or wealthy citizens, call for an exceptional levy that would target France’s richest taxpayers.
This exceptional tax should be calculated in a reasonable way and designed so as to avoid undesirable effects, such as capital outflows and an increase in tax evasion.
We are aware of the fact that we have benefited from a French model and a European environment which we are attached to and which we want to help preserve. This tax is not a solution in itself: it must be part of a wider reform of the tax system, encompassing spending as well as tax receipts.
At a time when rising public debt and deficits are threatening France’s and Europe’s future, and when the government is asking everyone to show solidarity, we feel we must contribute.
A full list of signers is available here.