Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Local Example of the Swiss Franc Mess

Our local news folks (HR, state-run Hessen network) ran a decent story today over the relationship issue with the Swiss Franc and damages done to German finances.

A local county here in the region.....Rheingau-Taunus.....had gone out in 2008 to get a loan to cover operating cost.  Because of the terrific rate involved....roughly 1.5 percent interest....they went to the Swiss National Bank and borrowed a fair sum of money.  It made financial sense at the time.  I should note that various individuals spoke up about warnings.....doing business with a foreign currency, means a significant risk is always possible.  No one listened or they simply didn't believe the risk.

This week, they've admitted the loss....since last week's effort by the Swiss folks to put the Franc back onto a real exchange rate.  Overnight, the amount involved in this whole thing.....went up by 63 million Euro.  A fair chunk of money that wasn't expected, on top of what you already owed.

What happens now?  Well....they have to find some method of taxation and royally screw the local residents of the county as much as possible.  They can't do anything with the VAT....that's federally mandated and set.  So, it's mostly property taxes and extra fees thrown into everyday life.  Everyone in the county area can probably expect a five-to-ten percent property tax rise as a minimum....maybe even twenty-five percent.  Road renovation?  I wouldn't expect any project in the county to be active for at least five years....it'll be patch-work mostly.

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