Report urges payroll tax cuts
A government-commissioned report will urge France to cut 30 billion euros (US$39.09 billion) in payroll taxes over two to three years to increase the country’s competitiveness, newspaper Le Figaro said on its Web site on Friday citing unnamed sources. The lost revenue would have to be covered by massive cuts in public spending — far beyond the 10 billion euro savings envisaged in next year’s budget — as well as rises in VAT and the CSG levy that helps to fund France’s social security system, the newspaper said. The cuts would only apply to wages up to 3.5 times the minimum wage, currently set at 9.4 euros an hour before tax, or 1,425.67 euros a month, the Web site said. French business leaders have long called for a decrease in payroll taxes, which rank amongst the highest in the world.
Nissan set to create US jobs
Japanese automaker Nissan announced plans on Friday to add 810 jobs to its Tennessee factory to support a third shift as it expands local production of its core models. Nissan said it aims to have 85 percent of all Nissan and Infiniti products that are sold in the US produced in North America by 2015. “The dedicated workforce in Tennessee continues to build high-quality vehicles that compete and win globally, and we’re committed to ensuring this doesn’t change,” Nissan Americas vice chairman Bill Krueger said in a statement. With Friday’s announcement, Nissan has added more than 2,000 jobs at the facility since last year, expanding the workforce to more than 6,000 people.
Asturias, islands seek aid
Spain’s Balearic Islands and Asturias became the latest regions to ask the central government for aid on Friday, raising concerns Spain may have to expand a 18 billion euro fund set up to help pay regional debts. Spain’s autonomous communities are struggling to cover their borrowing costs and their large debts are dragging on the country’s ability to rein in its deficit as it heads towards a European bailout. The Balearic Islands asked for 355 million euros of aid, while Asturias asked for 262 million euros, the local governments said, pushing the total number of regions that have asked for aid up to eight. The two requests mean that just over 17 billion euros of the fund has now been tapped, leaving it with scarce resources to cover other regions’ funding needs and raising the possibility the government will have to put in more money.
Starbucks faces backlash
Starbucks’ reputation among consumers in Britain has been hit by wave of criticism of its tax affairs from politicians and the media, pollster YouGov said. A report showed the coffee chain paid no tax on ￡1.2 billion (US$1.9 million) of sales in recent years by telling the taxman it was making no profit, even as it told investors the unit was “profitable.” YouGov said its BrandIndex survey of 2,000 people showed a drop in the its reputation score to minus-26 from 3. Starbucks’ Buzz score — whether people have heard anything positive or negative about the brand in the media or through word of mouth — is now minus-9 compared to zero before the report was published.