23/9/10 – France – Heritage – Normally, a few months go by between the time a politician makes a promise and the enactment of the total opposite. The lie thus goes unnoticed by most. However, at times this interval is much shorter.
In his speech delivered on Sunday 12 September at Lascaux (see news item of 22/9/10), the President of the French Republic indeed solemnly announced : “I would also like to pay tribute to those administrators deprived of historical monuments and I wish to confirm to the Minister of culture that I will defend fiscal incentives allowing private owners to maintain their historical heritage […] This is a commitment I am making […] I firmly believe in investing in heritage and in fiscal incentives, to help all of those who are passionate about rebuilding a castle or putting together collections.”
Yet, according to Le Figaro which interviewed the Minister of Finance, Christine Lagarde, on 15 September (only three days after the president’s solemn commitment), she announced that the 22 tax shelters which would decrease by 10% include “the conservation or restoration work of listed objects” and that of “expenses undertaken for the complete restoration of a building” in protected sectors (the tax deduction known as “Malraux”).
The tax benefits granted for restoring historical monuments are not tax shelters but rather a way of compensating for the restrictions imposed on owners of listed, or registered, objects or buildings which are also in public service. This is exactly what Nicolas Sarkozy meant when he said : “When there are passionately keen people who have money, who spend it on this passion and that this passion strengthens French cultural heritage, then good for them ! I say this very simply, having patrons and donors is not limited to the United States. We also need to preserve this force represented by the passion of men and women who have succeeded professionally and who wish to use their means towards something other than just personal satisfaction. Should I discourage them or encourage them ? I want to congratulate them, because they are part of this French exception.”
We wonder : Can Nicolas Sarkozy’s Minister of Finance go back on his word ?