French 75 pct tax rate would last years -Hollande aide

PARIS, April 10 Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:26am EDT

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PARIS, April 10 (Reuters) - The 75 percent tax rate that French presidential frontrunner Francois Hollande wants to slap on income over 1 million euros will be kept in place for many years, in line with the broader debt reduction effort, a top adviser to the Socialist candidate said on Tuesday.

In an interview with Reuters, Hollande adviser Michel Sapin said the 75 percent rate was more a symbolic measure than a big moneyspinner for the state but should stay in place for as long as the rest of Hollande's national debt-reduction effort.

Slashing the public debt from some 89 percent of gross domestic product to the desired level of 60 percent would take "many years", said Sapin, an ex-finance minister who is in charge of Hollande's election manifesto.

"So our endeavour is going to last a long time. This measure (75 percent rate) will last as long as the exceptional (broader) sacrifice France has to make," he said. Asked if this meant it would be kept for several years, he said, "Yes, naturally."

Hollande, who is tipped in polls of voting intentions to beat conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in a May 6 run-off, announced the 75 percent tax rate plan in late February and has since said it is a symbolic measure that would hit about 3,000 people and generate around 200-300 million euros a year.

Others in his Socialist Party have said the tax could be a temporary measure, raising questions about how long it was intended to stay in place.

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