The amending finance bill, the second part of the measures to support purchasing power, must be debated in the Senate, from Monday 1 August. The socialist group at the Luxembourg Palace wants to pass an amendment allowing the taxation of the “superprofits” of the big gas and oil companies and the maritime and motorway concessions.
An exceptional contribution that is not to the liking of the government. The Minister for Industry, Roland Lescure, estimates on franceinfo that “the tax on superprofits already exists, it’s called the tax on profits”. Jean-Pierre Sueursocialist senator from Loiret, defends this tax as an additional income for the State and denounces the opposition “of principle” senators LR and LREM to “implement tax justice”.
franceinfo: The government refuses to tax “superprofits”, arguing that big companies are already making gestures in favor of the French. Do you agree with this explanation?
Jean-Pierre Sueur: No. I believe in justice and truth. A company like Total made 4.7 billion in profits in three months. We, the Socialist Group, propose in our amendment to tax oil and gas companies, maritime and motorway concessions. We want to vote for a 25% levy on super profits.
We are asking all French people to make an effort and each French person can clearly see the price of petrol at the pump, we say that we are going to increase income by 4%, but inflation would be 7% for everyone: we can clearly see that between 7% and 4%, we are not at the level. There is also a sort of reluctance, a refusal in principle to implement tax justice.
This tax would yield how much in your version?
It all depends on what will ultimately be voted on. In the Senate, the situation is already very tight. There is the left who defends this amendment, of course, but there are also the centrists who think it is fair. There remains the LR group and the majority group: it will be played with a few votes. But you have to understand that it will be a plus for the state budget in any case. Currently, it is difficult to see how this budget is financed, if not by dint of debts that will have to be paid one day.
The government invokes a risk of tax evasion if this amendment is implemented. What do you think ?
We are always told that, except that in all the countries of Europe where it has been decided, it does not pose a problem. It’s an old saying that I’ve been hearing for 40 years. If we take excessive measures, in particular on SMEs, it can indeed cause problems. But here, our amendment deals with highways, gas and oil. Do you find it normal that all French people and foreigners who take gas pay and that absolutely nothing is asked of a group like Total? It is nevertheless absurd.
Another subject raised in the Senate: the abolition of the audiovisual license fee, which notably finances France Television and Radio France. What guarantees do you expect?
Already, we socialists are opposed to this deletion. It’s always very nice to remove a tax, it can be fun. But we are keen on public broadcasting. It therefore needs to be funded. The government proposes a levy on VAT, but VAT is not a very fair tax because everyone who goes shopping pays it. Everyone pays VAT, rich or poor.
We are going to present an amendment including a progressive contribution. 20% of French people do not pay the license fee today. We will continue to exempt them and we will even exempt them a little more. For others, it will be progressive according to income. Our only concern is justice. No one can say that taking part of the VAT revenue to replace the tax is a fair measure, since everyone pays it indiscriminately.