By 216 votes against 91, the left having voted against, the Senate (with a majority on the right) adopted the “revenue” section of the draft budget for 2023 at first reading. The senators then tackled the “expenditure” part of the finance bill and will vote on 6 December on the entire text.
The course set by the government for this first budget of Emmanuel Macron’s second five-year term is to contain the public deficit to 5% of GDP, despite measures such as the “tariff shield” of 45 billion euros, to limit it to 15% increases in regulated gas and electricity prices, an increase in teachers or the creation of more than 10,000 civil servant positions, including 3,000 police and gendarmes.
The government’s priority “is to protect households and protect businesses against the consequences of inflation”, according to Minister Bruno Le Maire.
The level of public debt still worries
On Monday, the IMF called on France to start cleaning up its finances next year, with the aim of reducing the deficit to 0.4% of GDP by 2030. “Very good news” for the government, the IMF is still counting on growth of 0.7% next year in France. The level of public debt is nevertheless a serious reason for concern (around 113% at the end of June 2022) for the right.
The text, examined in the hemicycle of the Senate for a week, has the particularity of having been struck by article 49.3 of the Constitution in the National Assembly. And the risk of being so again on his return to the deputies. A perspective deplored by senators from all sides, but which did not prevent them from debating at length to defend their positions, knowing that they will certainly be swept away in the final text.
“Printing your brand for the benefit of communities”
The senatorial majority of the “chamber of territories” held its line: “Print its mark for the benefit of communities”, in the words of the general rapporteur LR, Jean-François Husson. A strong signal to the address of the mayors gathered at the same time in congress in Paris. But a balancing act that is not always easy to carry out for the right, which is also concerned with sparing the economy and businesses.
The hot issue of Ile-de-France transport
This tug of war was particularly noticeable on the hot issue of Ile-de-France transport. The Senate finally resisted the call for help from the LR president of Ile-de-France Mobilités (IDFM), Valérie Pécresse (LR), who asked for an increase in the mobility payment, that is to say employers’ contribution to finance transport.
On the planned abolition of the CVAE, a local production tax, the LR group let itself be overtaken by the left and the centrists. To the chagrin of the government, this reform was rejected.
For the centrist Sylvie Vermeillet, the objective “is not only to preserve the financial autonomy of local authorities, it is also to safeguard (…) public resources”. To reassure companies, the Minister in charge of Public Accounts Gabriel Attal very quickly indicated that the CVAE would indeed be abolished. At the end of the day, 4 billion less in revenue for the state.
Windfall profits of large corporations will not be taxed
The centrist component of the senatorial majority, on the other hand, failed, like the left, to tax the exceptional profits of large companies. “To find money, you prefer to tax the unemployed than the superprofits”, launched the address of the government the socialist Rémi Féraud.
Senators simplified and expanded the government’s proposed “safety net” to offset rising community energy costs. They also voted to increase the overall operating grant (DGF) to inflation. “The French are turning to their mayors who must have the means to act”, underlined the ecologist Daniel Breuiller.
Among the other measures voted against the government’s opinion: a reduction in the VAT rate in public transport and for the equine sector or even a reform of taxation on real estate capital gains.
letelegramme Fr Trans