POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

‘Covid winners tax’ divides government coalition



Paperjam.lu

LSAP deputy PM Dan Kersch’s proposal for a special tax on companies that made hefty gains during the pandemic merits consideration, according to the Green party’s Djuna Bernard (pictured on right). But the DP’s Corinne Cahen (on left) said policy was “not on the agenda”. Photos: Anthony Dehez and Jan Hanrion. Montage: Maison Moderne. 

The recent proposal by deputy prime minister Dan Kersch (LSAP)--for a ‘covid tax’ selectively applied to companies that have down well during the pandemic--has divided the government coalition.

Déi Gréng said it was ready to discuss the idea. The DP believes that discussion is unnecessary, the priority being to help businesses and preserve jobs.

“This is not on the agenda,” commented Corinne Cahen, the DP party president. Cahen said the “absolute priority” is “to preserve employment, as well as the wellbeing of citizens and to help companies to overcome the crisis.”

“If we have businesses that create jobs, that’s good,” stated Cahen. “And if they make more profit, they will pay proportionately more tax.” So there is no question of “debating this” right now. 

“It is absolutely not the headline [policy proposal] at the moment, when we are in the middle of the crisis,” stated the secretary general of the DP, Claude Lamberty. “People are looking for jobs, companies are trying to survive, so there is no discussion about raising taxes.” Lamberty said the LSAP “is free to prepare for the elections of 2023, but we are in March 2021, and our priority is the management of the crisis.”

Find a three-way solution

The idea, on the other hand, was better received by the government’s third coalition partner, Dei Gréng. “We must talk about it within the coalition,” said the co-president of the Greens, Djuna Bernard, who was open-minded about the “substance” of the proposal.

“It is clear that there have been winners in the crisis, especially e-commerce companies,” she said. “We must find ways to redistribute [gains] to the big losers of the crisis.” Even if it means “thinking bigger", at European level, and introducing a new tax system for the digital giants.

“But there are three of us, so it for the three [parties] together to find solutions,” stated Bernard.

Originally published in French by Paperjam and translated for Delano