The vote [in Switzerland] is required as the federal authorities’ current mandate to levy taxes runs out at the end of 2006. “It is a peculiarity of our country that Swiss voters from time to time have to approve the tax situation,” said Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz.
A clause in the Swiss constitution gives the federal state only a limited mandate to raise taxes. Any change or renewal has to be discussed by parliament and approved in a nationwide vote. The restriction is seen as a reflection of the federal system that grants the country’s 26 cantons a large degree of autonomy, including the right to levy taxes of their own….
Parliament had voted unanimously in favour of extending the mandate after proposals to enshrine federal tax raising powers in law were brushed aside.
I submit that a national referendum on the continued existence of federal powers of taxation every ten years is an EXCELLENT idea. If the government oversteps itself, it’s bye-bye federal revenues.