connect, grow & thrive.

The March 31 Referendum explained

This time round there are two local topics on the table, but they are very important as they will shape the way Lucerne will be governed in the coming years. The first topic is the City’s Budget 2019 which has been frozen and challenged by the SVP and FDP. They would like tax to be lowered (always a popular move) but this could have dire consequences.

For this year the budget stands at 668 047 100 francs and the forecast revenue will be 669 073 300 francs, leaving the city with a profit of 1. 026 million francs. However, this year the city has scheduled investments in infrastructures of 54.7 million francs meaning that the budget would go into the red.

The SVP would like the tax to be cut from 1.85 to 1.75%, so a tenth, although not a lot on paper this would mean 7.5 million francs less, so even without the planned investments the city would then be in the red by over 6 million francs.

On top of that in 2020 there will be a national debate on taxes and how they are distributed between the national, cantonal and local level. The local government feels that it makes little sense to change our taxes until we have a clearer view on how the whole tax picture will look.

The budget freeze is having serious consequences as a lot of subsidies have been frozen affecting all institutions including those involved in integration who have seen their financial support from the city frozen.

All of the governmental parties are asking people to vote in favour of the budget and reassess things once that we know what is going on nationally.

The second topic is about voting new parliamentarians in and this year there are more candidates than ever: 802 for 120 seats. We can’t give you a description of each candidate but we thought we would share with you how the parliament currently looks.

There are 6 factions in the parliament, SVP (very conservative), CVP (conservative), SP (socialist), FDP (Liberal), Grüne (environmentalist) and GLP (green and liberal).

Currently the CVP hold 38 seats, SVP hold 29 seats, FDP hold 25 seats, SP hold 16 seats, Grüne hold 7 seats and the GLP hold 5 seats.

Voters will have a pamphlet with prepared lists to choose from but also blank lists so you can mix and match your own list. It’s up to each person to decide what they think the next parliament should look like.

Leading the parliament are five people (Regierungsrat) and their seats are up for re-election too. Four of the current members are standing again. Guido Graf (CVP), Marcel Schwerzmann (no party affiliation), Reto Wyss (CVP) and Paul Winiker (SVP), but there are five newbies including one woman standing for those seats too. Korintha Bärtsch (Grüne), Fabian Peter (FDP), Jörg Meyer (SP), Roland Fischer (GLP), Ruedi Schweizer (no party affiliation).

The town has been issuing reminders on how to make sure your vote is counted properly. So we are sharing the advice from ch.ch on how to do this: Filling your ballot paper correctly.

Remember you can also vote for just one of the topics.

The results will be in on March 31st and we will keep you updated.

charlie.hartmann@livinginluzern.swiss

Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Living in Luzern organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.

})(jQuery)