Berlin (dpa) – The grand coalition wants to take up nearly 180 billion euros in new debt next year and invest significantly more money than planned in health care, transport and infrastructure. This was the result of the deliberations of the Committee on Budgets in Berlin.
The federal budget for 2020 now foresees a total of about 498.6 billion euros – hardly less than in the current year, when the pandemic spontaneously funded multi-billion dollar aid programs. The Bundestag wants to pass on the budget in the week of December 8 to December 11.
In the 17-hour “cleaning meeting”, the housekeepers decided to make some changes to the design of the Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz (SPD), to which the cabinet approved in September. The bottom line is that spending has now risen by more than EUR 85 billion.
Scholz had already made a number of adjustments himself. He had to plan costs for coronavirus vaccines and billions more in aid to the economy hit by the renewed partial shutdown. The Minister of Finance supplemented the planned additional loans shortly before the last committee meeting from EUR 96 to 180 billion. The latest adjustment of more than 20 billion was needed after Wednesday’s federal talks, when, among other things, new economic aid was agreed for December.
The housekeepers added more in some places and decreased slightly in others. 39.5 billion euros is now available for bridging aid for the economy and corona aid for top sports clubs, for example, has been extended. Approximately 2.7 billion euros is planned for the purchase of corona vaccines.
For many households, large sums also flow to the shelter. In the coming year, most citizens will no longer have to pay the solidarity surcharge – this is the largest tax cut in recent years. In addition, families should receive 15 euros extra child benefit per child per month. The tax-free basic rate on which no income tax is paid will increase for all taxpayers. The housekeepers also decided to raise money for the renovation of municipal sports, youth and culture facilities and increased humanitarian aid by 170 million euros.
“The federal budget in 2021 is all about the corona pandemic,” said Union housekeeper Eckhardt Rehberg. “The high debts are necessary to get our country safely through the pandemic of the century.” To this end, the constitutionally anchored debt brake must be suspended again in the Bundestag. However, the burden on the federal government also has limits, Rehberg emphasizes. “It is no longer acceptable for countries to avoid their financial responsibility.” The federal government must negotiate a state participation in economic aid.
The Greens’ housekeeper, Sven-Christian Kindler, also described the borrowing as correct. However, the grand coalition’s budget is socially unbalanced, leaving the unemployed and self-employed in the rain. The investments for the climate-neutral restructuring of the economy are far too low, but the federal government is saving billions of large companies that make money from fossil fuels. “This budget is a threat to the climate,” Kindler emphasizes.
FDP housekeeper Otto Fricke, on the other hand, sharply criticized the high loans. The Union and the SPD would take on twice as much debt as necessary. Instead of tackling savings proposals and investing the money released in, for example, high-quality FFP2 masks, the coalition makes it easy for itself. “It gives the government a blank check for $ 35 billion through a global overspending, thus doing away with the further development of ideas,” Fricke criticized. “Never before have so many additional debts been resolved within hours by the budget committee in a restructuring meeting. That’s a record, but unfortunately a sad one. “