99% initiative fails to resonate with Swiss voters 

The Swiss electorate today voted strongly against the Young Socialists’ “99% initiative”. The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) was involved in the non-party committee campaigning against the initiative and expressly welcomes the “no” vote, which underscores the population’s faith in the existing tax system and will prevent confusing and arbitrary changes at everyone’s expense. 

The Swiss electorate has clearly voted against the Young Socialists’ popular initiative “Reduce tax on salaries, tax capital fairly”, unofficially referred to as the “99% initiative”. The initiative aimed to tax income from invested capital above a certain amount more heavily than income from employment and use the additional tax revenues to alleviate the tax burden on people with low and middle incomes. The SBA welcomes the “no” vote. The initiative would have had negative implications for many SMEs, start-ups, small investors and homeowners. As the Federal Council explained in the run-up to the referendum, the heavier taxation of income from invested capital would have detracted from Switzerland’s international appeal as a business location and reduced incentives to save, both of which are key drivers of the Swiss economy.

The rejection of the initiative can be seen as a sign that Switzerland’s population has faith in its existing tax system. One of the main reasons cited for voting against the initiative was the fact that its wording was open to interpretation, making the impact on the economy and society as a whole hard to gauge. The decision means that the existing frameworks for Swiss business can remain in place, which will safeguard jobs.

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