San Francisco loves its Italian Community.
Hence last Tuesday’s visit in town of Italian Representative Guglielmo Vaccaro (Democratic Party) might sound somewhat “alarming”.
Mr. Vaccaro’s goal, in fact, is to reclaim the Italian talents who, in the last years, have fled the country for better opportunities abroad.
In order to attain this goal, the Italian Senate has recently approved a law—the so called Controesodo (Reverse Exodus)—that provides tax incentives for Italian young expats who are willing to go back home, and who are either hired by a firm or start their own business.
Said incentives are not insignificant.
Italians with a college degree, born after 1969 and who have worked abroad in the last two years, or Italians who have studied abroad in last two years, would benefit from substantial tax cuts (only 30% of their income—20% for women—would be taxed, until December 31st, 2013).
Representative Vaccaro is one of the main promoters of the law.
“It’s been a long time since we started complaining about bright minds fleeing Italy,” Rep. Vaccaro told us in the elegant surroundings of Café de la Presse in downtown San Francisco (see video beside the article). “Until finally, a year and a half ago during a tour here in San Francisco, I came up with the idea of creating incentives for young Italians to come back.”
Armed with this apparently simple idea, Mr. Vaccaro was among the first to promote a legislative process and to try to coalesce a wide political spectrum around it.
Rep.Vaccaro belongs to the Democratic Party (PD)— the liberal minority of Italian Parliament. But incredibly enough for the incandescent Italian political environment, the proposal gained a bipartisan endorsement, notably that of PDL (Popolo Delle Libertà—People of Freedom), the center-right party led by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
“Without an agreement with the majority, we couldn’t have made it,” admitted Mr. Vaccaro, while reminding us that only 20-25 laws are approved in an average Italian legislative year, and among them the substantial ones number no more than 15.
Now that the law has finally been approved, the “marketing” of it is taking place, starting with an American Tour that targeted one of the main “dreamlands” for young talents moving abroad: the Bay Area and Silicon Valley.
That’s why Representative Vaccaro was here on Tuesday, and will be in New York in the next few days as well: to convince young Italians to hit the road to go back home.
Because, after all, home can be a sexier place, when lubricated by a tax incentive.