French President Nicolas Sarkozy's government on Thursday unveiled details of an 11-billion-euro (15-billion-dollar) masterplan to "shock" the economy back to life, the first part of his ambitious economic and social reform drive.
The eight-chapter tax and finance bill seeks to exempt overtime work from taxation; make mortgage interest payments tax deductible; all but eliminate inheritance tax; and put a 50-percent cap on overall individual taxation.
It will be debated by the new parliament after this month's legislative election.
....By enabling people "to work more to earn more," Sarkozy's plan aims to drive up consumer spending, boost economic growth and make it possible to slash France's 8.2 percent jobless rate, among the highest in the 13-nation eurozone.
....The key plank in the new bill is the proposal to exempt overtime work from taxes and social security charges, which are seen by many employers as a crippling disincentive to hire.
That would undermine the popular 35-hour work week introduced by a previous Socialist government, without taking the radical step of scrapping it entirely.