Budget 2023: the government wants to prolong the debates despite its setbacks


Posted Oct 13, 2022, 7:16 PM

Continue to arch your back as much as possible. The government again suffered several setbacks on Thursday on the examination of the finance bill (PLF) for 2023, sometimes conceded to the opposition and sometimes – and this is new – to components of its majority. However, there is no question of hastening the use of article 49.3 for the adoption without a vote of its budget, which will not be drawn until next week.

“It won’t be today, it won’t be tomorrow and it won’t be 49.3 this week. Moreover, if there is the slightest chance of not filing 49.3, we will seize this chance, ”said Bruno Le Maire this Thursday on RTL. “The debate on the revenue side of the PLF should last until Wednesday in theory, and we will try as much as possible to get close to it”, assures a senior official of the majority.

The serene government

The prospect must undoubtedly arouse some annoyed sighs among the deputies, after three days of debates and a lot of bowls in the face of opposition. Within the government, however, serenity is affected. “It’s not going so badly in reality,” says a member of the government. “There are ups, there are downs, and I understand that it can be hard for MPs. But it is the principle of dialogue, we must hold on,” continues a ministerial adviser.

To reassure themselves, the executive and its majority can say that they have finally limited the damage in terms of the amendments adopted (around thirty at the end of the afternoon this Thursday). Bruno Le Maire even managed to convince the Assembly not to vote for the reinstatement of the tax system for the half-share of widows, a horse chestnut of budgetary debates for a few years. “However, we thought we would not cut it,” sighs an adviser. To show their good will, the majority and the government have even conceded to the opposition to establish a half tax share for all widows of veterans, after having been initially opposed to it.

But for the rest, the elected officials of the presidential camp were still entitled to a few shots of the bitter potion swallowed for a few days. The majority thus had to bow to several amendments from the coalition oppositions, with LR as a pivotal group. “It is an extremely unstable group, difficult to read”, underlines the senior official of the majority.

Right-wing elected officials have rallied to their cause Nupes to raise the face value of restaurant tickets. More surprisingly, it was from the ranks of the right that the proposal to reinstate the “exit tax” removed by Emmanuel Macron in 2019 came. “On the fight against tax evasion, we must all find ourselves”, launched Véronique Louwagie (LR), to the applause of the Nupes. Although the majority tried to oppose it, the amendment was adopted.

Strokes

It is not the only symbol of the policy of supply led by Emmanuel Macron for five years which has suffered blows from deputies. In 2017, the government introduced a “flat tax” on capital income, a powerful indicator of government action. But it was called into question on the night of Wednesday to Thursday with the vote of a provision increasing its rate for dividends above the average. The surprise comes from the fact that the initiative came from a member of the majority – the Modem in this case, who had already voted earlier in the evening an amendment against the executive on the taxation of property income – supported in besides by 19 deputies of Renaissance.

Should Emmanuel Macron be afraid of having his own slingers? Within the majority, we relativize. “There has always been a left wing among the Walkers, and we forget that the abolition of the ISF has not always been easy to gain acceptance,” says a ministerial adviser. Within the executive, it is assured that the amendment of the Modem does not hold water technically anyway, and that it will always be possible to bring this ally to reason. “The political line remains the same, and this requires the stability of the fiscal framework”, reaffirms the senior official of the majority.

The government has in any case already begun to prepare the ground to restore order in its finance bill. A first meeting was held this Thursday with Bruno Le Maire, Gabriel Attal, the Minister Delegate for Public Accounts, the presidents of the majority groups and Jean-René Cazeneuve, the general rapporteur for the Budget (Renaissance), to start listing the amendments voted on which could ultimately be retained. Because regardless of when 49.3 is activated, the government will have the last word on the text anyway.

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