The Latest: Swiss voters reject tax reform initiative

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Posted: Feb 12, 2017 10:00 AM
The Latest: Swiss voters reject tax reform initiative

BASEL, Switzerland (AP) — The Latest on Switzerland's referendums on Sunday (all times local):

3:55 p.m.

Early returns show that Swiss voters have rejected a complex tax reform initiative which had aimed to put Switzerland in line with international standards.

The measure would have scrapped a two-track tax system that offers lower rates to foreign firms to lure investment.

Swiss broadcaster SRF reported Sunday the reform of the corporate tax rates failed.

Experts say that means that overall rates are likely to be set higher — which would be a disincentive to companies that bring in jobs and ultimately tax revenues.

Many domestic companies, meanwhile, will stand to see their tax rates go down.

Critics including regional government leaders and much of the political left had said the initiative would deplete tax coffers and has only an uncertain payoff.

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3:40 p.m.

Early returns show Swiss voters want to make it easier for "third-generation" foreigners to get Swiss citizenship.

Swiss broadcaster SRF said Sunday's projections showed that the "simplified naturalization of third-generation immigrants" measure passed in a national referendum.

It will simplify applications for anyone under 25 whose parents and grandparents have lived in Switzerland for years.

The citizenship referendum was the latest installment of Switzerland's direct democracy that gives voters a frequent say on political decisions.

It strikes at a Europe-wide dilemma about how best to integrate newcomers, but generally involves people from elsewhere in Europe or Turkey whose families have been in the Alpine nation.

While just under 25,000 people would be affected if the measure passes, the long-term implications are far-reaching: Roughly one-fourth of Switzerland's total population of 8.2 million is foreign-born, one of the highest such percentages in Europe.

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7 a.m.

Swiss voters were deciding Sunday whether to make it easier for "third-generation foreigners" to get Swiss citizenship and whether to lock in competitive low tax rates for foreign companies in Switzerland.

The "simplified naturalization of third-generation immigrants" measure is expected to pass in the referendum. It would simplify applications for anyone under 25 whose parents and grandparents have lived in Switzerland for years.

Polls have suggested a tight race over the complex tax reform initiative, which aims to get Switzerland in line with international standards by scrapping a two-track tax system that offers lower rates to foreign firms to lure investment.

Sunday's referendum is the latest installment of Switzerland's direct democracy that gives voters a frequent say on political decisions. A third issue on the national ballot involves infrastructure spending.

Voters in the eastern Graubuenden canton, or region, are also deciding whether to bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics.