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Swiss People's Party Slams Vignette Tax Hike Plans

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

10 October 2013

The Swiss People's Party (SVP) has fiercely criticized the Swiss parliament's decision to increase the cost of the motorway vignette by 150 percent, underlining the need to vote against the "massive additional burden" in the upcoming referendum on November 24.

Defending its position, the SVP highlighted the fact that the Federal Government already collects around CHF9.5bn (USD10.5bn) annually in road traffic taxes, duties, and fees. Of this considerable sum, barely one-third flows to finance road infrastructure in the Confederation, while the remaining two-thirds passes to the Federal Treasury, to public transport, and to the cantons, the SVP stressed.

Furthermore, the SVP argued that plans to dramatically increase the motorway vignette will not yield greater value, highlighting the fact that the resulting additional funds have already been earmarked for existing road maintenance. Given that these costs are currently borne by the Swiss cantons, the proposal merely shifts the burden from one level (cantonal) to another (federal), the party emphasized.

As a further argument, the SVP maintained that without years of road fund misappropriation, there would simply be no need to increase the vignette, or to increase fuel duties, as recently announced. The SVP also warned that the 150 percent price hike will impact most heavily on small- and medium-sized companies in Switzerland with a large fleet, suggesting that this cost would in turn be passed on to consumers.

Finally, the SVP lamented that fact that the measure will merely serve to further disadvantage Swiss nationals, noting that a new law now enables foreigners using Switzerland's road network to purchase a two-month vignette at a cost of just CHF40.

While underscoring the central importance of a well-maintained and well-developed road network for Switzerland as an economic location, the SVP concluded by reiterating that current income derived from taxes on road traffic is already more than sufficient to meet the Confederation's infrastructure requirements.

TAGS: individuals | tax | law | fees | Switzerland

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