In the budget dispute of the coalition, Federal Minister for Family Affairs Lisa Paus (Greens) insists on her financial ideas for basic child protection. "Twelve billion euros are rather at the lower end of what would be needed to significantly reduce child poverty in Germany," she told the "Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung". Bundestag President Bärbel Bas (SPD) called for a discussion about greater burdens for the rich.
The coalition has been arguing for weeks about the 2024 federal budget; the decision on the key parameters planned for mid-March has been postponed indefinitely. Several ministers, including Paus, are calling for significantly higher budgets for their portfolios. However, Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) has a very narrow margin of manoeuvre because he wants to comply with the debt brake and rejects tax increases.
On the costs of the planned basic child protection, Paus said that a large part of the money would already be needed "for inflation compensation and the higher utilization". However, she wanted to "finally initiate a trend reversal". The basic child protection is "a paradigm shift, not only technically, but also with a clearly noticeable increase in benefits for children in poorer families".
Paus proposed to reduce the child allowances in income tax to partially finance the project. "It is absurd that wealthy families are relieved much more than poorer families who only receive child benefit," she told the newspaper.
Bundestag President Bas told the newspapers of the Funke media group about the budget dispute that it was right "that the money is not spent with full hands". At the same time, however, "the distribution of wealth in Germany" must also be taken into account. "If we don't want to incur new debts, the question remains: How do we deal with the wealthy, can't we make a different tax policy?"
A wealth levy for particularly rich people could be a way "without new debt for future generations to relieve people today, to strengthen our education system or to invest in our infrastructure," Bas said. This is true, even if Lindner "does not want to hear it".
SPD leader Lars Klingbeil called on the cabinet to reach an agreement. "As party leader, I am not involved in the government's budget negotiations. As party chairman, however, I expect that the goals of the coalition agreement will be implemented with the help of a serious budget policy," he told the "Welt am Sonntag", according to a preliminary announcement on Saturday.
It is important to him "that the goals of the coalition agreement to modernize Germany are adhered to in order to resolve the reform backlog of recent years," said the SPD leader. "For me, this is primarily about three areas: new economic strength, security for our country and social cohesion." In a difficult budgetary situation, these goals had become "by no means obsolete, but even more urgent".
"If the government does not find a good solution, I would certainly have a few proposals on budgetary policy," Klingbeil added. "I like to make them public."