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The instrument of taxation is the only one now able to assure and plan Venice’s future. There are no public funds available for the conservation and improvement of the city, and so it is necessary and no longer delayable to think of innovation and instruments that can generate alternative resources. Structural action is necessary to avoid continual depopulation and launch a project-making phase. Venice is a city that is unique in the world (at least, international public opinion thinks so) and must be treated as such. It is widely known that enormous sums of money are necessary just to maintain its heritage; it is also widely known (the latest statistics say so) that the cost of living is higher in this city than in other urban centres; and it is widely known that it becomes harder and harder to reside in Venice owing to high rents and property prices. These are all points that people have been talking about for decades but the solutions are not in sight yet. Then another thing to be considered is the process of the conversion and reclamation of a large area in Mestre and Marghera that has been martyred to nefarious industrial development, which needs huge investments that cannot be put off any longer either. If all this is true (and we are convinced that it is), the only way to tackle and solve the problem is for Venice to become a free trade area.

The taxation system would keep those who want to live in the city from leaving: there would be total exemption from taxes for the purchase of a first home and total exemption for renting a home; total deductibility of rent (both for residents and for students, who could decide to stay on in Venice permanently at the end of their studies - in this event, some intellectually gifted people might even remain in the city instead of searching for some faraway strand); and total deductibility for those who have restoration work carried out. There would be maximum concessions for companies wanting to open an office in the city (both in the historic centre and where urban regeneration is needed), but this time on a serious basis (real offices and not empty shells as in the case of tax havens), with a guaranteed minimum stay (10 years) and the obligation to offer new jobs and thus fresh opportunities for young people.We have an example in Europe: Ireland. From having the lowest income per head and gross domestic product, in a few years it became the country with the highest growth rate because it succeeded in attracting numbers of multinational companies to set up in the country by adopting intelligent tax measures without upsetting the environment. In this way, Ireland is the youngest country in Europe (two inhabitants out of three are young - in Italy it is the other way round!). The Irish did all this offering a country with no pretensions but with the advantage of enthusiasm and a constantly positive approach to people from other countries. If we try to transfer all this to Venice, we shall realise that we have all the potential to move up a gear. Before money, we need to attract intelligence and expertise to help us to find the best way to proceed. Doing all this, Venice can again become the city of the future: a mechanism with the capacity to start up new activities, generate new wealth and act as a driving force for a system that transcends the museum city, most of which is at present squashed flat by mass tourism. What we ask of the institutions, at all levels, is that they request the European Union to grant a special derogation for the area of the Municipality of Venice (we may encounter a greater degree of sensitivity in this quarter, and therefore a better chance of it happening). A provocation, a Utopia, a dream, perhaps all these, but you have to thing big in order to achieve big results!

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