Chemical Leak In Pratteln; Swiss Air Reports Reduced Profit; Basel Tax Surplus Angst

News Headlines For 30 April 2024

Residents of Pratteln, a neighboring village of Basel Stadt, were blanketed by a strong odor Friday emanating from a nearby chemicals plant.  The Cabb chemicals manufacturing company operates the plant which caused the accidental release of Acetyl Chloride, a chemical precursor used in the manufacture of organic compounds.  Authorities responded almost immediately, and managed to get the leak under control.  A statement was released that exposure to a small amount of the chemical may be irritating, but will not cause any long term damage.


First quarter 2024 results for Swiss Airlines were released earlier today.  Profits at the company fell to approximately 31 million Swiss Francs for the quarter, more than 40 million less than the comparable quarterly period a year ago.  Despite the solid performance, management blamed higher labor costs resulting from a new collective bargaining agreement with employees, higher fuel costs and seasonal factors that typically reduce profits in the first quarter of a year.  


It didn't take long for the debates to erupt over what to do with the tax surpluses Basel's tax office has been generating for the last ten years - the cumulative value of which is now over 2 billion francs. Although there is general consensus between fiscal conservatives and progressives about returning taxpayer money, there is also disagreement over how much and what else to do with the excess.  Specifically, the Green party's representatives have floated an idea to divert the surpluses into a climate fund used to achieve the "Net Zero" by 2037 emission-free climate strategy.