Many projects are financed jointly by the federal and state governments. But in Berlin, people think that the federal government is too often helping the states. In the north, a minister warns against cuts in sharp words.
According to information from Schleswig-Holstein, the federal states are threatened with a significant cut in funds for joint projects with the federal government.
Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) wants to cut funding for federal and state programs by at least 900 million euros, warned Schleswig-Holstein Finance Minister Monika Heinold (Greens). At the request of the German Press Agency, a spokeswoman for the Kiel minister referred to unspecified information from Berlin. The “Flensburger Tageblatt” reported first.
According to Heinold, it is about 300 million euros each for the joint task to improve the agricultural structure and coastal protection, the joint task to improve the regional economic structure and urban development funding.
The Greens politician reacted sharply: “If it’s true that Federal Finance Minister Lindner wants to cut one billion euros in state funding with the open announcement that he will use it to get back what he has promised to finance refugees, that would be perfidious,” she said. “If the federal government believes that it can restructure its coffers at the expense of the federal states, we will not simply accept that.”
The Federal Ministry of Finance pointed out the ongoing negotiations on the 2024 federal budget. Last week, the ministry informed the other departments how much money they should each have at their disposal. It was said that the houses themselves would have to decide how they would manage.
“All departments, including the ministries led by the Greens, are called upon to plan on their own responsibility with the available budget funds,” emphasized a spokeswoman. The federal-state programs mentioned by Heinold are the responsibility of the Green-led Ministry of Agriculture, the Green-led Economics Ministry and the SPD-led Building Ministry.
The Ministry sharply rejected Heinold’s suspicion that Lindner wanted to get back the funds that the federal states had been promised for refugee financing. “The personal attack and public speculation about alleged motives is a surprising faux pas for an experienced minister,” said the spokeswoman.
Finance Minister Danyal Bayaz (Greens) of Baden-Württemberg also criticized Lindner. “We just can’t go on like this anymore,” he said. At the finance ministers’ conference last week, the federal and state governments assured each other that they would tackle major tasks together. “A blink of an eye later, the Federal Finance Minister wants to draw up his budget at the expense of the federal states,” criticized Bayaz.
His Bavarian colleague Albert Füracker (CSU) took the same line: “The federal government must finally meet its responsibility for refugee financing. Ideas of getting back the payments due to the federal states via detours have no factual basis and are extremely dubious.” What is needed is an honest and open dialogue about federalism.
Heinold: “The national solution is missing”
Heinold called on the federal government to conduct a serious dialogue with the states on future state financing. “Whether climate investments, taking in refugees, education or digitization, the challenges are great and there is no national solution.” Income and expenditure diverged more and more everywhere. “The reasons for this are, among other things, the tax cut packages decided last year, which also relieve high incomes.”
In circles in the Federal Ministry of Finance, it was said that the federal government was already relieving the burden on the federal states and local authorities and was also doing tasks for which it was not actually responsible. The federal financial network between the federal government on the one hand and the federal states and local authorities on the other hand has “got into considerable imbalance” in recent years. You have to make it happen again that the federal and state governments are also financially responsible for their respective tasks.
Heinold also received harsh criticism from the FDP parliamentary group. “Once again, the countries’ robbery and loot community is showing its true colors,” said parliamentary group leader Christoph Meyer. “It’s outrageous that countries like Schleswig-Holstein just keep asking for more money.”
Although the federal government’s budget situation is massively strained, it will relieve the federal states with around 54 billion euros this year. In addition, the federal states still have almost 13 billion euros in surpluses from last year. Above all, the federal states would have to finance their original tasks themselves. “There will be no more money from the federal government,” emphasized Meyer.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.