France

France, Again, Aims Taxes at the Successful

They haven't chased all the entrepreneurs out of the country, yet

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France's wealthiest households have borne the brunt of President François Hollande's efforts to trim the budget deficit. Now he's going to hit them again.

At a news conference last month, Hollande hinted that a broader swath of the population would have to share the pain of future deficit-cutting. "We've asked a lot of them," he said of France's wealthy, who have faced tax increases and surcharges that resulted in 8,000 households receiving 2012 tax bills that exceeded their annual incomes.

But on June 3, given the opportunity to trim a popular middle-class welfare benefit, Hollande opted to go after the rich once again. His government rejected a plan that would have reduced monthly cash payments to families with children. Instead, tax deductions for children of higher-income families will be cut, increasing the tax bills of about 1.2 million households by a total €1 billion (about $1.3 billion) annually.