French court rejects 75 percent millionaires’ tax

French court rejects 75 percent millionaires’ tax

France's President Francois Hollande speaks at a news conference at the end of the first session of a two-day European Union (EU) leaders summit in Brussels October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

By Emile Picy and Catherine Bremer

PARIS | Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:25am EST

(Reuters) – France’s Constitutional Council on Saturday rejected a 75 percent upper income tax rate to be introduced in 2013 in a setback to Socialist President Francois Hollande’s push to make the rich contribute more to cutting the public deficit.

The Council ruled that the planned 75 percent tax on annual income above 1 million euros ($1.32 million) – a flagship measure of Hollande’selection campaign – was unfair in the way it would be applied to different households.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the government would redraft the upper tax rate proposal to answer the Council’s concerns and resubmit it in a new budget law, meaning Saturday’s decision could only amount to a temporary political blow.

While the tax plan was largely symbolic and would only have affected a few thousand people, it has infuriated high earners in France, prompting some such as actor Gerard Depardieu to flee abroad. The message it sent also shocked entrepreneurs and foreign investors, who accuse Hollande of being anti-business.

Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said the rejection of the 75 percent tax and other minor measures could cut up to 500 million euros in forecast tax revenues but would not hurt efforts to slash the public deficit to below a European Union ceiling of 3 percent of economic output next year.

“The rejected measures represent 300 to 500 million euros. Our deficit-cutting path will not be affected,” Moscovici told BFM television. He too said the government would resubmit a proposal to raise taxes on high incomes in 2013 and 2014.

The Council, made up of nine judges and three former presidents, is concerned the tax would hit a married couple where one partner earned above a million euros but it would not affect a couple where each earned just under a million euros.

UMP member Gilles Carrez, chairman of the National Assembly’s finance commission, told BFM television, however, that the Council’s so-called wise men also felt the 75 percent tax was excessive and too much based on ideology.

FRANCE UNDER SCRUTINY

Hollande shocked many by announcing his 75 percent tax proposal out of the blue several weeks into a campaign that some felt was flagging. Left-wing voters were cheered by it but business leaders warned that talent would flee the country.

Set to be a temporary measure until France is out of economic crisis, the few hundred million euros a year the tax was set to raise is a not insignificant sum as the government strives to boost public finances in the face of stalled growth.

Hollande’s 2013 budget calls for the biggest belt-tightening effort France has seen in decades and is based on a growth target of 0.8 percent, a level analysts view as over-optimistic.

Fitch Ratings this month affirmed its triple-A rating on France but said there was no room for slippage. Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s have both stripped Europe’s No. 2 economy of its AAA badge due to concern over strained public finances and stalled growth.

The International Monetary Fund recently forecast that France will miss its 3 percent deficit target next year and signs are growing that Paris could negotiate some leeway on the timing of that goal with its EU partners.

The INSEE national statistics institute this week scaled back its reading of a return to growth in the third quarter to 0.1 percent from 0.2 percent, and the government said it could review its 2013 outlook in the next few months.

Saturday’s decision was in response to a motion by the opposition conservative UMP party, whose weight in fighting Hollande’s policies has been reduced by a leadership crisis that has split it in two seven months after it lost power.

The Constitutional Council is a politically independent body that rules on whether laws, elections and referenda are constitutional.

If I had the ear of this entire generation for 15 Minutes. Get out while you can.

If I had the ear of this entire generation for 15 Minutes.

The day of Pentecost 34 A.D.

Men and women from all over the world are crowded into Jerusalem.  Suddenly 120 people pour out of an upper room with supernatural flames appearing over their heads and speaking in the local dialects of the thousands of foreigners visiting the city.

Whatever your view of the origin of the Church of Jesus here is the real story.  It was not born in a musty guilt-ridden gathering.  It is not the product of weak minds or social escapists.  On this day it became clear that a truth would impose its reality on all cultures and all levels of society. It was born in plain sight of one of the most multicultural events of all time.

Skeptics can dredge up whatever failure of man done in the name of Jesus but it does not touch the power of the real source of the Gospel.

When it became obvious that a miracle has happened, Peter, the spokesman for the 120 begins to explain that this is the fulfillment of a prophecy that was given 753 years before.   Joel 2:28 says, “I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh.”

He says in essence, “Our ability to speak your language is further proof of what has happened here in the last 4 years.  Proof by healing miracles, proof by fulfilling over 200 direct predictions of the messiah and proof by the resurrection from the dead!”

They saw the flames over their heads, they heard them speak in such detailed accuracy and even accent of obscure tongues from their remote villages. But some still mocked and said that they were drunk.  Some people will mock in the face of absolute proof but  mocking Jesus does nothing to disprove Him.

 Peter finishes with a heart-felt warning.      He finishes with a warning.  Acts 2: 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”  The Message Bible says it this way, “He went on in this vein for a long time, urging them over and over, “Get out while you can; get out of this sick and stupid culture!”

In 37 more years Jerusalem would be totally destroyed.  It was one of Jesus’ final predictions fulfilled in painful detail.   I want you to get out of disaster:  Every current crisis of the world is laid out in the Bible.  Every cast member on the stage and plainly seen.

You may not have much in common with any Christians that you have met.  But what you do have in common is problems and the need for love.  You see the protests of the Occupy Movement and the extremes of many today.  They are not just seeking justice on a natural plane but they are feeling the convulsions of their soul.  They sense that our way of life is far more unnatural that we think.

Just because it is simple does not mean it is not absolutely true!  Victory over any adversity may be found by living for Jesus Christ. Whatever you are going through, there is hope in Jesus.

God is real. Jesus is alive! He loves you and is concerned for your well-being. He is the absolute Reality on which all truth is ultimately grounded. His message for you and your world is contained in the collection of 66 books called The Bible. Its transcendent teachings have stood the test of time, the scrutiny of scholars and the furnace of practical experience. They speak not only about history but how to live today in every level and facet of life.

You must make a deliberate and conscious decision to surrender your life to Christ as your Lord and Savior.

What you must do:

Get real: You must face for the first time the truth about your wrong. To do this you must be utterly real. Many plead with God to prove He is real.  The cure is in doing the very opposite: prove that you are real to God.  God will not do business with people who do not mean business with Him. “He that covers his sins shall not prosper; but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy.” (Prov.28:13)

Repentance: “I confess that I am a sinner and I cannot save myself from sin.” True repentance means turning completely from your selfishness, with the determination to sin no more.

Faith: “I believe that God is real, and that Jesus Christ is His son. I freely confess He died on the cross for the penalty I deserved. I believe that I can receive both His forgiveness and a new life through the power of His Spirit living within me.” This act of faith is neither an idea or a feeling but an intelligent and deliberate act of the will. Give Him your doubts, your weakness and your loneliness. Your heart will never have peace, your doubts will never clear up, you will never get relief from the cruelty of this world until you trust, surrender, believe from your heart!

It is your turn to experience the power, proof and love of God that has given humanity for over 2,000 years.