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02. 05. 12. - 16:34

Bonuses must mean tax cuts, says VP boss

The People’s Party (ÖVP) has suggested to lower the tax pressure on companies which share their profits with employees.

ÖVP chairman Michael Spindelegger said yesterday (Tues) firms which decided to pay bonuses to staff in economically successful times should benefit by such a tax reform. The foreign minister added that his party would present detail aspects of the planned measure next year.

Spindelegger claimed it would only be a fair and logical step to lower the tax on money transferred as bonuses to employees. Spindelegger announced: "The signals we are sending arguably differ from other parties’ ideas. We call for higher earnings at unchanged working hours."

This statement can be seen as a blunt attack on his party’s coalition partner, the Social Democrats (SPÖ). Only two weeks ago, SPÖ Labour Minister Rudolf Hundstorfer revealed that the SPÖ wanted to slash the general working volume from 40 to 38.5 hours a week. The minister said this could help keeping older workers from retirement prior to the pension age.

The appeal for a cutback of the working week of Austrians is one of only a handful of conclusions the SPÖ’s Austria 2020 strategy initiative came up with. The party board asked the SPÖ academy to start a party-internal brainstorming for new ideas and possibly a new programme as, according to polls, more and more people got fed up with politics and political leaders.

Imas spoke with more than 1,000 Austrians about what they were pleased with in the country to find that fewer than one in five (17 per cent) approved the decency of Austrian economics and politics. The climate between Austria’s established parties got the thumbs up from a meagre 24 per cent while 35 per cent said they were happy with social fairness standards.

Already at Saturday’s Vienna SPÖ summit, delegates labelled the ÖVP as a "prodigy of banks". SPÖ Chancellor Werner Faymann deplored inequalities regarding how wealth and assets were shared in Europe. "Employees are not strong enough," he said in his speech.

The chancellor also attacked the Freedom Party (FPÖ). Faymann said the party of Heinz-Christian Strache was doing nothing but engaging in "rightist hate preaches". Strache hit back yesterday. He said in his May Day speech in Upper Austrian capital Linz: "It is about time to resign for this government."

The right-winger – who heads the FPÖ since 2005 – claimed the ÖVP "has become irrelevant". He appealed on the audience to vote his party in next year’s election to become the strongest political force of the country. Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) boss

Josef Bucher criticised the government coalition yesterday as well but in less harsh terms. The ex-FPÖ member tried to present the BZÖ as a party focused on economic issues by calling for longer opening hours. Bucher claimed that some regulations Austrian shops were confronted with "have a Communist character".

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