Switzerland is considered to be one of the most democratic countries in the world and the population votes as often as four times a year on matters of all sorts. This year’s first votation will take place on Sunday, March 4 with two federal items (in addition to the federal items, some cantons, such as canton Vaud, also have cantonal items to submit to the cantonal population for a vote on the same day).
The first one asks the Swiss population if they accept to extent the Government’s right to collect tax through VAT and Direct Federal Tax (which is calculated based on a person or family’s income and fortune) to 2035. Currently, the Government has this right until 2020. This item is expected to be accepted by the Swiss citizens.
The second item is an initiative launched by a group of Swiss citizens called “No-Billag”. The initiative wants to remove “Billag”, a tax paid by every household receiving TV and/or Radio media (currently CHF 451,10.- per year for both TV and Radio), to finance Switzerland’s audio-visual industry based on a Government mandate to provide a diverse and neutral array of media content in all languages (French, German, Italian and Romanche). Should the initiative be rejected, the “Billag” tax will be reduced to CHF 365.- per year as of 2019. The “No-Billag” initiative wants the Swiss audio-visual market to be unregulated and governed by the law of demand and supply. The Government would not be permitted to provide any form of financial aid to the TV and Radio channels and the production of content would need to be financed solely through commercial ads. This item is expected to be rejected by the Swiss population.