The Swiss electorate go back to the polls this weekend but this time there is no federal votes. That’s right, Switzerland has absolutely no issues to thrash out this weekend but there is still a few local issues that need the approval of the populace, the most exciting of which is the cities desire to be more sustainable and carbon neutral.
City - Let's go carbon neutral.
Independence from fossil fuels is something that we should all strive for and a previous referendum this year bound the city council to becoming carbon neutral by 2040. With this in mind the city is proposing a credit of 573 million to build a new hot/cold network to supply up to 70% in Zurich’s heating. The city council and myself say yes. The SVP, (who should listen more to uncle Ron,) say no.
The Swiss love referenda, taxes and insurance. So what could be finer than combining all three in a referendum on tax relief on the beloved «Krankenkasse»? Palms sweating with excitement on this one? I’ll be brief. We get all get tax relief on what we pay for health insurance but the tax relief is increased year on year according to the inflation rate. «But that’s not fair,» i hear you cry, «my insurance went up way beyond the rate of inflation.» And here lies the problem.
The vote is essentially split into three parts. First, SVP sponsored and Judge Dredd-esque, «Gerechtigkeits-Initiative» or justice initiative which supports an increase in tax deductions of up to CHF 1000 per adult and CHF 200 per child. Sounds good huh? Well it means a loss in revenue to the city and municipal councils of around 300 million with only high earners likely to see a benefit. This proposal is supported by the EDU and, obviously, the SVP.
The second vote is a counter proposal from all the other parties which will see a CHF 300 increase in tax deductions and with deductions remaining tied to the inflation index. Like the «Gerechtigkeits-Initiative» it will cost the various authorities but to the tune of CHF 45 million but it’s far easier for them to swallow.
Which would you choose? The third vote is a run off question which will come into place should both initiatives pass.
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