By a narrow margin, Swiss voters rejected a new aviation tax meant to offset carbon dioxide and reduce greenhouse gasses.
Swiss Voters Reject New Airline Tax
Switzerland is a direct democracy in which questions are put to citizens via a referendum or popular initiative process.
Over the weekend, Swiss voters considered a number of measures, including:
- Federal COVID-19 Act – weather to grant the government continuing authority to impose measures under the guise of public health and authorize public assistance to individuals and businesses impacted by the pandemic
- Synthetic Pesticide Ban – a 1o-year ban on synthetic pesticides for goods produced within Switzerland or imported
- Farm Subsidy Restriction – ends farming subsidies for farmers who use pesticides and use antibiotics (except to treat sick animals)
- Greenhouse Gas Reductions – increase taxes on fuel oil and natural gas plus introduce a tax on outbound flight tickets with a goal to halve greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 (versus 1990 levels)
- Terrorism Act – extends police powers to allow for more preventative action against a “potential” terrorist
Votes were close and by a narrow majority, voters rejected the “carbon dioxide law” which would have led to higher-priced airline tickets thanks to a new tax tacked on to all flights departing Switzerland. This “Abgabe Allgemeine Luftfahrt” (General Aviation Tax) was not preset but would have been determined after passage of the act. There was discussion of giving regional airports discounts, which led to proponents of the act to argue jets still emit CO2 based upon their size, not the size of the airport.
51% of voters said no, with critics of the measure pointing out that Switzerland produces only 0.1% of worldwide carbon-dioxide emissions. Others pointed out it put rural voters at a distinct disadvantage over urban voters, who had easier access to public transport and alternatives to fossil fuel consumption.
Swiss voters rejected a new greenhouse gas law that would have placed additional taxes on airline tickets. Proponents of the law have vowed to try again while opponents have claimed victory.