VIENNAŚAustrian Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger resigned Tuesday after eight months in the role, citing differences within his party on tax and debt reform. He also stepped down as the country's vice chancellor and head of the Austrian People's Party.
"When there is no cohesion, it is time to hand over the reins," Mr. Spindelegger told journalists at a surprise news conference Tuesday morning.
His party, known by its German acronym ÍVP, has faced internal conflict over how to finance proposed tax reform. ÍVP's coalition partner, the center-left Social Democrats, has called for a tax on wealth, which Mr. Spindelegger rejects, while some in his party are open to compromise on the matter.
Mr. Spindelegger said it is important to reduce the tax burden on Austrians, one of the highest in the European Union, but now wasn't the right time. It was more important to attack Austria's debt burden, which is expected to reach about 80% of gross domestic product this year. Mr. Spindelegger said increasing Austria's debt would be irresponsible with respect to future generations.
He urged Austria to handle its finances more like Berlin than Athens. He added that those in his own party who had "jumped on the populist train," regarding taxation seemed to have gained the upper hand.http://online.wsj.com/articles/austrian-finance-minister-michael-spindelegger-quits-in-tax-reform-dispute-1409046824