EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW. While the national Conference of the territories, will present, on Monday, July 17, in the Senate, the project of the reform of the housing tax, the association of mayors of France, through the voice of its secretary general, Philippe Laurent said “irresponsibility of the State”. This would result in “a collapse of investment capabilities, dramatic for employment in the building industry and public works.”
The mayors are raising the tone on the abolition of the housing tax for 80 % of the households. In the perspective of the national Conference of the territories of July 17, next to the Senate, the association of mayors of France (AMF), and by the voice of its secretary general, Philippe Laurent, (IDU), mayor of Sceaux (Hauts-de-Seine), has granted an exclusive interview to Batiactu this July 11, 2017, in which he denounces the “irresponsibility of the State”, or an “injustice”.
“Thus deprive the communes of 10 billion euros of income is irresponsible in the current situation of the country”, says the elected. This would result in “a collapse of investment capabilities, dramatic for employment in the building industry and public works.”
Before we entrust that the presidents of the associations of the bloc communal (AMF, AdCF, France Urban, Cities of France, VFPA, FDMA)* met on July 12 in the morning to prepare for the first important appointment of the legislature between the State and the communities.
“A root canal treatment for tax purposes of commons is to be feared”
“For weeks the Government we ride on this topic, we hope to have next Monday the definition of a shared agenda, avoiding ads hasty and focusing on the culture of effective mutual consultation, the initial impact assessment study of reform, experimentation and joint evaluation”, continues Philippe Laurent. Before concluding : “A root canal tax of commons is to be feared.”
Recall that the removal of the housing tax for 80% of the households promised by Emmanuel Macron will cost 8.5 billion euros to public finances, and not 10 billion, as announced previously, stated July 11, the minister of the public Accounts Gérald Darmanin, during the session of questions to the government in the Senate, confirming the fact that the reform would be implemented “over three years”.
The same minister has also indicated that the State would “intervene on the revision of rental values”, to calculate the amount of taxes collected by local governments, adding this had not been done “since the 1970s”.
The details of the reform, including on compensation to local communities, will be fully discussed at the conference of territories, planned for Monday, July 17. “If the Government wants to tackle the fiscal autonomy of local authorities, it will commit a fault quasi-constitutional”, has already said morning to Gérard Larcher, (LR), president of the High Assembly.
Batiactu offers you the interview of Philippe Laurent, secretary general of the Association of mayors of France.
*Association of Mayors of France (AMF), the Assembly of Communities of France (AdCF), France Urban, Cities of France, association of small towns of France (VFPA), Association of mayors of rural France.
Batiactu : Emmanuel Macron has just resolved by focusing on the promises of tax cuts : the first effects of the reform of the housing tax, which the head of the State wants to exempt 80% of households, and the Tax on wealth (ISF) must be felt as early as 2018. What do you think of this decision within the Association of mayors of France (AMF) ?
Philippe Laurent : During the presidential campaign, the Association of mayors of France (AMF) has said very clearly that she was in dissent, on the merits, with the proposal of the candidate Emmanuel Macron. This applies regardless of the date of implementation of the measure, in 2018 or later.
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Thus deprive the communes of 10 billion euros of income is irresponsible in the current situation of the country : it would mean the loss of many public services nearby, useful and indispensable to the inhabitants, but also a collapse of investment capabilities, dramatic for employment in the firms of building and public works, and be detrimental to the development of the territories. Propose it, it is to be unaware of the role and the contribution of the commons in the daily life of the French, and in the attractiveness of the country.
In addition, the justifications announced are not acceptable. To restore the purchasing power of the French ? The State can do it in many other ways, and it is always easier to be generous with other people’s money. To delete a tax unfair ? On the one hand, this “injustice” would stand for 20% of taxpayers. And on the other hand, we are working since 2010 with the administration of the Finances of the revision of rental values (the tax basis of the property tax and land tax) to specifically address this unfairness. And we are on the point of success, that knows Emmanuel Macron as he had to know this folder when he was in Bercy. Finally, this measure would be tantamount to severing the link between the user of public services of communal and community for a large majority of the inhabitants : it is totally contrary to the desire to develop a spirit of responsibility and citizenship also advocated by the president of the Republic. Participation in the financing of public charges of each in proportion to its capacity is one of the foundations of the base republican.
Batiactu : the head of State is committed to compensate “to the last euro,” the lack of winning communities, who normally perceive the property tax. How do you respond to Emmanuel Macron ?
Philippe Laurent :
It is not the equivalent of levying a resource tax, which control the tax rate, and partially the evolution of the tax base, and an endowment granted by the State. In the first case, you have your freedom of decision and you will exercise fully your responsibility to elected. In the second case, you become totally dependent upon the one who feeds you and you will lose both your freedom and your responsibility. In no event shall our ethic of responsibility can not accommodate such an evolution. In addition, this type of commitment by the State never holds in the time. We have seen multiple times, with insufficient compensation upon the removal of the professional tax, or even with the recent drop in violent and endowments, which is nothing other than the accumulation of the offsets of the local revenue dropped throughout the last fifty years. We absolutely can’t trust the State in the matter : it will always be easier, to spend less, decrease staffing by transferring the unpopularity of the austerity to others, rather than to endeavour to make savings in its own operation.
“A pact is concluded between persons of full age and responsible, and not between a sovereign and vassal.”
Batiactu : Finally, what do you want to propose to the national Conference of the territories, entirely dedicated to this topic on Monday 17 July 2017 in the Senate ?
Philippe Laurent :
We will first collect the highest authorities of the State, what vision they have exactly the role of local authorities within the public authorities. We are a number of elected officials, who have known the Decentralization and the tremendous advances it has allowed in the management of local public services and in the equipment of the country, to question ourselves on the fact that the culture of the central State is still very foreign to this movement of the bottom, which penalizes strongly our country. Indeed, countries that are highly decentralized are much more adaptable to developments in the world’s fastest and stand up much better to the crises that the country centralized.
In the same vein, we propose to finally put on the table, without taboos, the essential question of the sharing of public resources between the State and the local authorities. It is totally abnormal that local communities, who provide the bulk of public investment, and to manage and finance most public services (except the teachers, security and justice) have at their disposal that the local income tax current, which we want in addition to the deprive. In all developed countries, there is a shared, negotiated – and not granted – major-tax flows (tax of the income and consumption taxes). We need to move forward in this direction, in which the former Prime minister, Manuel Valls had made a first step with the decision to allocate a share of the VAT to the regions.
Failing that, it will not be credible to speak of “covenant” : a covenant is concluded between persons of full age and responsible, and not between a sovereign and vassal. The quality of the relationship between the central and local authorities, which all hold their legitimacy from universal suffrage, will depend on the answer to these questions background. The ball is in the camp of the State. It is up to him to make his cultural revolution.