Some tax resistance news from Europe:
Spain / Catalonia
Catalonia, banned from holding a formal vote on independence, held a more informal plebiscite on the question recently. The voters overwhelmingly approved of an independent Catalan state. This will probably revitalize a long-simmering tax resistance campaign in which Catalan municipalities and taxpayers were paying their taxes to the regional government rather than the federal government.
In other Spanish tax resistance news:
- NWTRCC’s Erica Weiland interviewed Enric Duran of Spain’s “desobediencia integral” movement.
- There are also more traditional pacifist war tax resisters in Spain, such as Antonio Martín Canaves, who explained his stand in a recent letter-to-the-editor.
Governments seem to be increasingly using public utility monopolies as ways of increasing government extractions of money from citizens without raising “taxes.” New fees, increased rates, and complex bureaucratic reorganizations that leave the government richer and the citizens poorer, are among the tools in this chest.
In Syracuse, some citizens are drawing the line. They held a demonstration in the Piazza Duomo to announce their refusal to pay a new garbage tax.
- A protest against a new water tax in Dublin drew thousands of demonstrators. They held banners reading “No Way: We Won’t Pay” and burned their Irish Water new customer packets. A companion protest in Limerick was Halloween-themed, with people in costumes, and the packet-burning taking place in a witch’s cauldron.
- Truck drivers in Dublin blockaded the Dublin Port Tunnel as part of a protest over a high heavy goods vehicle tax in Ireland.
High value-added tax (VAT) rates in Germany have led to a boom in the sale of used goods which are not subject to the tax.
The VAT is very similar to what is being promoted as the “Fair Tax” idea in the United States. “Fair Tax” promoters ought to take heed from this warning from victims of the German VAT:
People are realizing that they have been living a fairy tale. The politicians swore that VAT taxes would reduce income taxes. They did not. They were more repressive and have reduced the long-term economic growth throughout Europe. The administrative burden upon business is outrageous with each layer having to account up the chain rather than a sales tax that only the seller need collects.
The bonnets rouges were successful in their campaign to get rid of the “écotaxe” — and this is going to end up costing the French government even more than the lost revenue it had been expecting from the tax.
The government had contracted with a private company to administer and collect the tax. That contract guaranteed that company a certain amount of money, whether or not the tax was collected. The government suspended the tax, but it is still on the hook for about €1 billion in payments to this company.
Nineteen members of the Greek “Won’t Pay” movement were acquitted on charges of incitement for their actions during a toll gate opening raid.