Vast majority back tax on assets, poll shows

More than seven in ten are in support of the introduction of a tax on assets, a new study has found.Public opinion research agency Karmasin has found that 72 per cent of Austrians backed the possible new tax, while only 18 per cent rate the suggestion a “bad idea”.This result – revealed by a poll the firm conducted for the new edition of weekly magazine profil – comes after months of debate over what kind of new tax could be set up to reduce the Austrian budget deficit which increased by 3.5 per cent year on year in 2009.The Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB) have called for a tax on financial transactions, a “bank tax” and taxes on assets.The SP֒s coalition partner, the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) of Vice Chancellor Josef Pröll, meanwhile suggested a “green tax” package to create “thousands of sustainable jobs in the ecological sector”.Pröll and SPÖ Chancellor Werner Faymann meanwhile agreed that a “bank tax” will come into force next year. The coalition hopes for an extra 500 million Euros from it after it paid around six billion Euros to some of Austria’s leading bank institutes last year to ensure they get through the economic crisis.Faymann appealed to the ÖVP to put the cards on the table what their “green tax” agenda would mean. He stressed that the SPÖ would oppose plans to increase taxes on car fuel to ensure those who need to take their cars to get to work will not be burdened further as petrol prices continue to soar.The vice chancellor recently announced he hoped European Union (EU) leaders would agree on the introduction of a tax on financial transactions “the sooner the better”. But he dismissed Faymann’s suggestion to press on with the issue strictly on a federal level. Pröll claimed the introduction of such a tax only in Austria would mean companies and banks would relocate their activities to other countries. He warned thousands of jobs would be at risk in Austria.Karmasin also found that 25 per cent of Austrians would back Faymann given they could pick the next chancellor in a direct vote. Twenty-four per cent said they would support Pröll who had been ahead in this regard for months.Eight per cent spoke up for Heinz-Christian Strache, the head of the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ). Greens chief Eva Glawischnig would have the support of seven per cent, while a meagre two per cent named Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) leader Josef Bucher their favourite.