Companies and People Free to Settle Where They See Fit

Johnny Hallyday's decision to become a tax exile in Gstaad caused a predictable outcry in France and triggered another round of criticism of the cantonal tax system.  Such criticism is not new. Alarmed at the growing number of European companies seeking refuge in Switzerland from the high taxes and onerous labour laws of its member states, the European Union have long argued that the cantonal tax system represents a breach of the provisions of the Free Trade Agreement that prohibit any form of "public aid" that distorts competition. But what was less predictable was the reaction of Economics Minister Doris Leuthard who denounced the lump sum taxation arrangements available to wealthy foreigners as "discriminatory for the Swiss". Was this is a sign of the Swiss political establishment joining forces with the external critics?

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