“The only limit we set is: no additional public spending without saving money,” explained Bruno le Maire on franceinfo last week at the start of the budget review in the National Assembly.
A week later, the limit was easily crossed by 8 billion euros in additional expenditure, leaving no suspense on the use of Article 49 paragraph 3 of the Constitution in the coming hours, on all or part of the text.
“Our real fear is to see a crash in the economy due to inflation on energy prices”
Bruno Le Maire nevertheless hinted that the government would retain opposition amendments to the draft budget which will be presented to the Senate, including a reduction in corporate tax for “small SMEs”. “It is in line with our policy, it supports SMEs, it supports competitiveness”, justified the Minister of the Economy, on BFMTV.
“The purchasing power of companies and communities is as important as that of the French. Our real fear is to see a crash in the economy due to inflation on energy prices”, abounds Jérôme Basher (LR) secretary of the finance committee who underlines “not to be focused on work of the Assembly”.
Read our article. Community budgets: elected officials denounce the government’s “alms”
“To be honest with you, it’s a little early to talk to you about the budget because we don’t know what text will be sent to us”, recognizes the general rapporteur for the budget, Jean-François Husson (LR) before, too, to share the same concern. “The subject that concerns us a lot is the surge in energy prices. We will have to look at what latitudes we will have to protect the French, businesses and communities. Where we parliamentarians have our hands are on measures in favor of an energy abacus”.
“France, in an authoritarian manner, must decorrelate the price of electricity from that of gas. Solidarity with Germany is starting to do well. We are up against the wall”, asks Jérôme Bascher outright. In the functioning of the European energy market, any rise in gas prices is passed on to electricity. A system denounced by the Senate for months (see our articles here and here), but from there to being the subject of an amendment during the examination of the budget?
“It’s on another level, these are negotiations at European level. It is not in the French budget that we will decide that the price of the megawatt hour is indexed to the last means of production, ”recalls Christine Lavarde (LR), vice-president of the finance committee.
“It would only be awarded on presentation of a real slippage in energy costs”
This energy shield, proposed to the High Assembly, would be supplemented by the maintenance for at least one year of a production tax that is set to disappear: the CVAE (contribution on the added value of companies). The abolition of the CVAE divides the LR deputies, torn between the abolition of a production tax and the maintenance of a clean resource for the communities. In the Senate, it is urgent to wait. Gérard Larcher requests the postponement of the abolition, questioning the methods of compensation by VAT for the departments and the intermunicipalities.
“The terms of its abolition are still very vague, it seems to us much wiser to postpone the measure for at least a year. We want to allocate these 4 billion in revenue to an energy shield in favor of SMEs, SMIs, ETIs that would not be covered by the systems that already exist. Just like the large communities which do not benefit from the tariff shield”, confirms the vice-president of the finance commission, specifying that it would be “a targeted device”. “It would only be awarded on presentation of a real slippage in energy costs”.
Are LR deputies and senators on the same line?
In the National Assembly, elected LRs are at the origin of an amendment aimed at creating a tax credit, without setting a threshold or rate, for the renovation of buildings and thus correcting “failures” of the MaPrimeRenov system The amendment was voted with a short head (92 for, 88 against), supported by the Nupes (LFI, PS, EELV, PCF), and the RN, calls for “reviewing the device”, so that it finances more global renovations rather than small jobs.
If this amendment does not resist article 49 paragraph 3, it is difficult at this stage to bet on its return to the Senate. “We have been saying it for several years in the Senate, the financial means for the thermal renovation of buildings are too low […] Anything that can help save money for energy renovation is a step in the right direction […] After the difficulty of a tax credit, it is how to ensure that the work is carried out according to the rules of the art? explains Christine Lavarde cautiously.
It is, finally by another LR amendment, that the Assembly returned to the abolition of the “exit tax” aimed at the tax exile of entrepreneurs. Its partial abolition in the name of France’s attractiveness was a strong measure of Macron’s first five-year term in 2018. The LR amendment, supported by 155 votes to 133, restores a tax on the “latent capital gains” of heads of companies that decide to transfer their tax domicile abroad, in the event of the effective transfer of their assets in France within 15 years of their departure.
“I don’t know if this amendment was brought by individuals or by the LR group of the National Assembly. We have not yet discussed this subject with our colleagues, deputies”, eludes Christine Lavarde as for Jérôme Bascher, he recognizes that the subject is “complex”. Last year, the left in the Senate tried to reinstate the “exit tax” and came up against opposition from the right, which deemed “the mechanism ineffective with limited budgetary return”.