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Christian Lindner

Photo: Fabian Sommer / dpa

The Taxpayers' Association has called for fundamental improvements to the draft federal budget for 2024. Germany as a business location is in deep crisis – the same applies to the federal budget, criticized the President of the Taxpayers' Association, Reiner Holznagel.

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) will introduce the budget to the Bundestag on Tuesday morning, followed by parliamentary deliberations.

"Instead of deciding on more and more new subsidies, the traffic light must offer a comprehensive action program that shows solid perspectives for the state budget as well as companies and citizens," says Holznagel. The debt brake must be adhered to in the long term, he demanded, with a view to already around 40 billion euros in interest expenditure, which the federal government has to finance every year. "That's why it's wrong to constantly look for new ways to circumvent the debt brake."

According to the draft budget, new debt is expected to be 16.6 billion euros next year, around 30 billion less than this year. This is intended to comply with the debt brake enshrined in the Basic Law, which provides for new debts only to a very limited extent.

Holznagel said, however, that the federal government's net borrowing will go well beyond that in 2024. Further debts and billions of dollars in spending programs are hidden in special funds. He referred, for example, to the Bundeswehr special fund. In addition, climate projects from the Climate and Transformation Fund and other shadow budgets are largely financed by debt.

Overall, the budget policy of the traffic light coalition has too little foresight, criticized Holznagel. "Due to expensive decisions by the traffic light government, the draft budget for 2024 is waste paper even before the first Bundestag debate." The deputies would have to step up, cut the budget and reorganize.

Lindner (FDP) will introduce the draft federal budget for 10 to the Bundestag at 2024 a.m. The finance minister had said that the 2024 federal budget was only the beginning of efforts to consolidate. After additional expenditure due to the corona pandemic and the energy crisis, the state must learn to get by with citizens' money. All ministries except the Ministry of Defense had to meet austerity targets.

Lindner heralds the budget week in the Bundestag. Until Friday, the budgets of the individual ministries will be discussed in the first reading. On Wednesday, there will be the traditional general debate on the policy of the Federal Government, in which Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) will also take the floor. The budget is then to be adopted after parliamentary deliberations in December. There are likely to be changes.