Last week, nearly one million fans payed tribute to rock star Johnny Hallyday. President Emmanuel Macron, former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French senate Gerard Larcher, Prime Minister Eduoard Philippe attended Hallyday’s funeral at Madeleine Church in the 8th arrondissement. Marine Le Pen was not in attendance after the family made it clear she would not be welcome.
Last Wednesday, the legendary “French Elvis” died of lung cancer at age 74.
Enormous crowds also watched the star’s hearse go down the Champs Elysees followed by a procession of around 700 motorcyclists in “a nod to his biker image.”
Hallyday was not free of controversy. Always protective of its language, the French establishment did not take kindly to his Hallyday’s English-influenced rock style. Nonetheless, fans adored him, and, despite his thumbing his nose at the establishment, Johnny sold 110 million records.
Nor did Hallyday like France’s tax laws. Chris Edwards at the Cato Institute reminds readers how Hallyday spent his last decade: avoiding Frence’s wealth tax in Switzerland and Los Angeles.
The solidarity tax on wealth was imposed in the 1980s under President Francois Mitterrand. It is an annual assessment on net assets above a threshold of about $1 million, and it has graduated rates from 0.55 percent to 1.8 percent. It covers both financial assets and real estate, including principal homes.
One of those hit by the wealth tax was Johnny Hallyday, a famous French rock star and friend of French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Hallyday created a media sensation when he fled to Switzerland in 2006 to avoid the tax. He has said that he will come back to France if Sarkozy “reforms the wealth tax and inheritance law.” Hallyday stated: “I’m sick of paying, that’s all … I believe that after all the work I have done over nearly 50 years, my family should be able to live in some serenity. But 70 percent of everything I earn goes to taxes.” A poll in Le Monde found that two-thirds of the French public were sympathetic to Hallyday’s decision.
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