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France 75% tax rate rejected

Paris, Dec. 29 (AP): Embattled French President Francois Hollande suffered a fresh setback today when France’s highest court threw out a plan to tax the ultrawealthy at a 75 per cent rate, saying it was unfair.

In a stinging rebuke to one of Socialist Hollande’s flagship campaign promises, the constitutional council ruled today that the way the highly contentious tax was designed was unconstitutional. It was intended to hit incomes over $1.32 million.

The largely symbolic measure would have only hit a tiny number of taxpayers and brought in an 100 million euros to 300 million euros — an insignificant amount in the context of France’s roughly 85 billion euro deficit.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault was quick to respond, saying in a statement following the decision the government would resubmit the measure to take the court’s concerns into account.

The court’s ruling took issue not with the size of the tax, but with the way it discriminated between households depending on how incomes were distributed among its members. A household with two earners each making under 1 million euros would be exempt from the tax, while one with one earner making 1.2 million euros would have to pay.

The French government approved the tax in its most recent budget, amid criticism by some that it would do little to stem the country’s mounting fiscal problems and would drive away the wealthiest citizens. Hollande’s popularity, meanwhile, has been tanking as the country’s unemployment continued its rise for the 19th straight month.

 
 
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