Austrian Heiress Marlene Engelhorn Distributes €25M to Bridge Wealth Gap

Marlene Engelhorn, 31, is an heir from Austria who has rolled out the red carpet in her giving-back initiative on bridging the wealth gap by renouncing the €25 million inheritance grade she received from her family—chemical giant BASF owners. She did this based on a convicted feeling that mainly what was lacking was fair trust in taxation and the sharing of wealth within her homeland.

I own €25 million for one reason alone—it never paid state taxes. It doesn’t belong to me, and unearned wealth like this shows the failures of governments in regulating wealth distribution, which has been able to accumulate way out of proportion in my hands simply because of my family connection,” Marlene Engelhorn told media persons after the press conference.

The Role Of Wealth And Inheritance Taxes In Austria

For years, Marlene Engelhorn had campaigned in Austria for legislative reforms regarding the effective implementation of wealth and inheritance taxes. This was met by the harsh reality of a political landscape devoid of any concrete taxation agenda. Confronted with this structural challenge, Engelhorn came up with the innovative alternative of establishing a citizens’ council: one named “Guter Rat für Rückverteilung” (Good Advice for Redistribution).

The very process of establishing this council will start with the mailing of 10,000 letters to citizens all over Austria, inviting them to take part in the process of selection. From these responses, 50 members and 15 substitutes will be elected to represent the wide variety composing Austrian society. This ensures a wide demographic descriptive representation of the members aged at least 16 years or older.

The Impact Of Citizen Participation In The Windfall Distribution Process

It will meet six times from March to June, and it has the mandate to come up with detailed proposals for the distribution of Marlene Engelhorn’s €25 million windfall fairly and satisfactorily. Marlene Engelhorn had campaigned in Austria for years to bring about legislative reforms on the effective implementation of wealth and inheritance taxes. The harsh reality of a political landscape devoid of any concrete taxation agenda met Engelhorn. Facing this structural challenge, Engelhorn came up with the innovative alternative of establishing a citizens’ council: one named “Guter Rat für Rückverteilung” (Good Advice for Redistribution).

The very process of establishing this council will start with the mailing of 10,000 letters to citizens all over Austria, inviting them to take part in the process of selection. From these responses, 50 members and 15 substitutes will be elected to represent the wide variety composing Austrian society, ensuring a wide demographic descriptive representation of the members aged at least 16 years or older.

It will meet six times from March to June, and it has the mandate to come up with detailed proposals for the distribution of Marlene Engelhorn’s €25 million windfall fairly and satisfactorily. The fulcrum of this process lies in Engelhorn’s continuous assurance that she will not interfere at all in the discussions and decisions the council makes, underlining her desire for a fully community-driven approach.

The initiative thus becomes proactive in dealing with the deeply seated issues of socioeconomic inequality, using Engelhorn’s fortune as a driver to catalyze real change in society. Engelhorn promotes community-driven solutions to redistribute wealth, so her fortune makes a difference in hosting a society that will become much fairer and more just toward all people in Austria.

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