Klingbeil: Waiver of tax increases under scrutiny
The budget verdict has messed up a lot of things in the traffic lights. So much so that old promises have to be up for debate, says the head of the Chancellor’s party.
SPD leader After the Karlsruhe budget verdict, Lars Klingbeil questions agreements made in the coalition agreement. The waiver of tax increases advocated by the SPD, Greens and FDP is under review, Klingbeil told the German Press Agency in Berlin.
It was agreed in the coalition agreement that investments in the country’s future should be financed with money from the Corona pot. “It was deduced from this that we are returning to normal with the debt brake and that there is no need for a tax increase,” explained Klingbeil. Now the first has been broken down by the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court. “For us as the SPD, that of course also means that we are now talking about the other two things.”
The traffic light coalition is wrestling with how much money the federal government can spend on in the coming year. The Karlsruhe ruling has left billions in gaps in both the 2024 budget and a fund for modernizing the economy and climate protection. While Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) insists on savings, the SPD and the Greens also want to ensure more income through tax increases and loans.
Klingbeil promised difficult conversations. Currently these are mainly taking place in a three-way round with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens) and Lindner. First of all, the three want to clarify how the budget can be prepared for the coming year.
Klingbeil called for a suspension of the debt brake, as the federal government has also initiated for 2023. The Basic Law allows this in the event of natural disasters or exceptional emergency situations.
“There has to be savings from the federal government. But in the end I am of the firm political conviction that we have to declare an emergency for 2024 because I don’t want to get into a situation where we are playing off Ukraine aid against climate investment,” emphasized Klingbeil. “I want us to continue to be active supporters of Ukraine, and I hope that there is a consensus among the democratic parties.”
SPD party conference in Berlin
The opposition Union currently sees no solid justification for the decision to create an emergency situation for 2024. If the traffic light coalition nevertheless suspends the debt brake, the Union could go to the Federal Constitutional Court again.
Klingbeil expects that the debate about reforming the debt brake will gain further momentum after the budget resolution. “I believe that there will be a lot of movement on the part of the Union when the prime ministers, the mayors and the district administrators realize how the Federal Constitutional Court ruling ensures that there is less money,” he said.
At its party conference next weekend in Berlin, the SPD wants to pass a key proposal that provides for a relaxation of the debt brake and tax increases for the super-rich. The Social Democrats want to make it possible for more money to flow into infrastructure and the jobs of the future. “This is not a direct reaction to the Federal Constitutional Court, it is our social democratic stance, which is exactly right right now,” said Klingbeil.