Rickli fails with request for lower fees

In the debate on the revision of the Radio and Television Act in the National Council, a minority led by Zurich SVP National Councilor Natalie Rickli failed with its demand for a reduction in radio and television fees to 360 francs.

Switzerland already has the highest fees in Europe, Rickli argued on Wednesday. She sees the reason in the fact that the public service is constantly being expanded. A maximum limit is needed here. Rickli also requested that the amount of the fee should be set by parliament and not by the Federal Council.

Both proposals found little support beyond the SVP. It does not make sense to fix a fixed amount in the law, said Viola Amherd (CVP/VS). If an adjustment became necessary, "the entire legislative machinery would have to be set in motion." Fears were also expressed that parliament might try to influence programming. "We don't want any politicization of SRG fees," said Regula Rytz (Greens/BE). "That would mean interference by parliament in the SRG's journalistic freedom."

Collect together with direct federal tax

Rickli was also unsuccessful with the request that radio and TV fees be collected together with the direct federal tax. "Everyone receives a tax bill. Enclosing an additional bill would be straightforward," she argued. This would be much more favorable than the variant proposed by the Federal Council. This envisages a private company collecting this levy from households. "The Federal Council's main concern is to put Billag under homeland security," Rickli said, referring to the current collection agency.

Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard said that at first glance she also found Rickli's proposal "impressive". However, the idea fails because of the concrete implementation. For the cantons, the change would involve considerable additional work. For example, they would first have to record all households, since the tax is levied per household and not per natural person.

The collection of fees together with the direct federal tax would lead to an "administrative monster" and an "irresponsible effort," Amherd also criticized. "If 26 cantons collect a levy, it will certainly be more expensive than with a single body," said commission spokesman Martin Candinas (CVP/GR). (SDA)

More articles on the topic