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‘Pigeons’ denounce unfair budget

A group of small businesspeople opposed to extra tax and social charges on businesses has mushroomed on the web

A FAST-GROWING group of internet activists calling themselves les Pigeons has denounced the draft 2013 budget as bad for business.

The group, representing mainly owners of start-ups and other small businesses, came up with the slogan “We are pigeons” inspired by Anonymous’s “We are legion” (they also use the verlan backslang for pigeon, “geonpi”). Pigeon in French also means a “mug” or “dupe”.

So far the movement consists of a website Défense Pigeons, a facebook page (with 30,000 “likes” so far) and a Twitter account.

The movement was created by several French entrepreneurs following the publication of an opinion piece on the site of business newspaper La Tribune on Friday last week. The article, by ‘business angel’ Jean-David Chamboredon, accused the government of “almost sadistic demotivation” and of “breaking dreams”.

Supporters of the group include Meetic founder Marc Simoncini as well as the president of Cap Digital, Henri Verdier, who called the budget “economically undesirable”.

The pigeons are demanding the removal of two measures in the budget: the alignment of capital gains tax on sales of businesses with the income tax bands (instead of being at a fixed rate), which they say is likely to mean more than 60% of profit going in tax and social charges; plus raising the social charges paid by auto-entrepreneurs.

They say the former is unfair considering the long hours and effort business people put in and the jobs they create. Their profits cannot be compared to ones from investing in art or property, they say.

In the second case they state one in two start-ups is now an auto-entrepreneur and the scheme has brought thousands of people out of working “on the black”, so generating money for the state.

The group says that like Anonymous, it has no official “representatives”.

Digital Economy Minister Fleur Pellerin, who is to meet with certain business groups to try to calm anger, has said she is working on measures to encourage investment into “productive capital”, which will help businesses.

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