Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Ecotax Scandal: A Modern-Day Tax Farmer Will Collect a Penalty of 1 Billion Euros

Mediapart has another scoop. The now-infamous "ecotax," which would have forced truckers to pay for every mile traveled, was to have been collected not by the state but by a private company called Ecomouv. The state signed a contract with Ecomouv during the Sarkozy years, which called for the payment of a penalty of 1 billion euros if the tax should be withdrawn for any reason, to compensate Ecomouv for infrastructural investments it would have had to make to prepare for collection (all trucks were to be equipped with GPS devices that could be monitored remotely to tally up the miles driven). Now, of course, the tax has been rescinded in the face of violent opposition (see previous post), and the state will be obliged to pay the contractual penalty for non-performance.

Even more interesting is the fact that any number of politicians of the Right who have been vociferously critical of the Hollande government's actions in recent days signed off on the Ecomouv contract: Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, Valérie Péresse, and Jean-Louis Borloo, to name a few.

It will be interesting, no doubt, to learn more about the details of this incredible contract, which recalls the tax farmers of the Ancien Régime. What cronyism was involved in the original award, for example? Stay tuned.

1 comment:

MCG said...

At the end of the Sarkozy era, the government also agreed to pay a substantial penalty to Bouyges, the developer of the proposed courthouse in the 17eme, should the government pull out. That penalty in the contract was said to be a major reason the current government decided to continue the project, despite the opposition of Mme. Taubira. In fact, construction has stopped because the banks are unwilling to lend money while the lawsuit brought by lawyers who do not want to leave the Ile de la Cite for the distant 17eme is still ongoing. But such unilateral penalties are unusual, aren't they?