Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) sees his 2020 budget proposal as a climate-friendly "turnaround in financial and economic policy". His presentation set a "course for the next decades," said Scholz in the budget debate of the Bundestag. In 2050, Germany could do so in a climate-neutral manner and still be in the top economically. The federal government is not only increasing investment for more climate protection, it is also spending more money on social tasks, while at the same time reducing the tax burden on many citizens. "I think that's a good performance," said the SPD politician.
The 2020 budget envisages total expenditure of 362 billion euros. Federal investment is set to rise to a record level of almost 43 billion euros.
The federal government implements the first decisions of the climate package with the budget. In the coming year, for example, the VAT on long-distance tickets will be lowered, so that more people can switch from trains to cars or planes. In order to make up for lost revenue through rail taxation, higher taxes on airline tickets are due. The Energy and Climate Fund finances funding programs for around seven billion euros, such as the replacement of old oil heating systems or more charging stations for electric cars.
However, the largest item is the social expenditure and thus the budget of the Ministry of Labor, which amounts to 150 billion euros. Alone, more than 100 billion euros are planned for pension insurance. Single-parent and low-income families benefit from the advance on child benefits and child allowances, with the child supplement falling income limits away. Also funds for better kindergartens and all-day schools are planned.
Defense spending is rising
The second largest item is the budget of the Ministry of Defense, which is increased to 45.1 billion euros. Thus, the defense spending ratio rises to 1.42 percent of gross domestic product - in NATO, members have committed to a target of two percent of GDP. Above all the USA had criticized that Germany to spend too little money for defense.
The Verkehrssat is the third largest single budget, here is invested the most. Most of the money goes into the construction and construction of roads and rail. The Federal Government wants to significantly strengthen the railways in the coming years with additional billions of euros. This is an essential part of the program for more climate protection. More money should also exist for the expansion of cycling.
In addition, the federal government wants to invest 42.9 billion euros in the coming year, ten percent more than in the current year. In addition to the mentioned projects, the money will be used to build new day-care centers, to equip schools with digital technology and to expand fast mobile radio services in the countryside. More jobs are also planned for the Federal Police, the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. In this way, among other things, right-wing extremism should be fought more strongly.
Opposition criticizes rogue funding
"It is the beginning of the budgets of the next decade that will make Germany a social country, that it will dominate technological change, and that it will stop man-made climate change with our opportunities in Germany," said the Minister of Finance. "That's just the thing to do."
However, the finance minister received clear criticism from the opposition. The FDP budget politician Otto Fricke said that the federal government spend too little money on education or digital infrastructure. "We will not be able to build a future with such a household."
The AfD politician Peter Boehringer criticized that the government was at the expense of future generations. The coalition benefits above all from the low interest rates imposed by the European Central Bank. Left-wing MP Gesine Lötzsch said that inequality in Germany is growing faster than in other European countries. She called for a fairer tax policy and a move away from a budget without new borrowing.
The Green politician Anja Hajduk criticized especially the climate program of the government. It is socially unbalanced and unfolds too little effect. She also spoke of a structural gap in the budget of 15 billion euros, especially because Scholz had taken billions from the so-called asylum reserve.
The Bundestag votes on Friday about the budget. Until then, there are deliberations on the individual budget.