Germans say "Nein Danke!" to lower taxes
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germans are overwhelmingly opposed to tax cuts and want the government to focus on cutting debt rather than reducing taxes, according to an opinion poll published on Sunday.
The somewhat remarkable results from a representative survey by the respected Emnid polling institute were published in Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday.
The survey found 70 percent of those polled believe it is more important for the government to cut debts than taxes even though Germany's debt levels are modest compared to many other leading industrial countries.
Germany's fiscal deficit will sink below 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year from 3.3 percent in 2011 and the government aims to have a nearly balanced budget by 2016. Its debt is expected to slip to 81 percent of GDP in 2012 from 82 percent this year.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives last week bowed to pressure from their junior coalition partners and agreed to lower taxes in 2013 ahead of parliamentary elections that year.
Another recent poll of German business and industry leaders by Capital magazine came up with similar results -- 49 percent said they thought it would be wrong to cut taxes and 78 percent said it would be unrealistic to expect tax cuts this year.
(Reporting by Erik Kirschbaum; Editing by Jon Hemming)