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Black book of the taxpayers' association: criticism of wasted money and the coal phase-out


An unused bridge, a fire engine that is too heavy - or the exit from coal: In its black book, the taxpayers' association denounces 100 examples of wasted money - from curious to terrifying.

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Bridges over bridges: Another is to be built behind the Hamburger Hochbahnbrücke, which according to the Schwarzbuch is not needed

Photo: Daniel Reinhardt / DPA

The taxpayers' association has denounced the waste of money by the German authorities and also criticized the coal phase-out, which it considers too expensive.

A CO2 price would have made coal-based power generation economically unprofitable in the medium term anyway, said association president Reiner Holznagel on Tuesday.

However, with the state-decided exit with compensation payments for energy companies, taxpayers would be asked to pay unnecessarily.

In its "Black Book", the Taxpayers' Association lists 100 examples of waste.

The association criticizes the federal, state and local authorities in numerous cases with careless handling of citizens' money.

Examples include a historic bridge that is no longer in use, a luxury hotel on Bonn’s Petersberg, which is owned by the federal government and incurs high losses, an allegedly energy self-sufficient disco run by the federal government, in which enough electricity is produced for operation through dance movements alone should - but it didn't work.

Or the purchase of a fire engine in Eschborn, Hesse, costing around 680,000 euros, the weight of which exceeded the permissible maximum limit by one ton, which is why it cannot be used.

No criticism of government corona aid

The black book is not a systematic study of the extent of the problem or changes compared to previous years.

According to the association, the aim is rather to point out problems and raise awareness.

State aid in the corona crisis is a matter of course, stressed President Holznagel at the presentation of the new "Black Book" in Berlin.

At the same time, however, the state of the public finances is deteriorating due to high levels of new borrowing.

Holznagel also criticized the fact that the state is becoming more and more economically active - sometimes with high risks.

Better rules are needed for this, including for participation in companies in times of crisis.

State entry into companies risky

"What we clearly lack are clear exit scenarios," said Holznagel, referring to the latest state holdings in the Lufthansa airline or the TUI tourism group.

The goals of crisis aid through state entry would have to be precisely defined in advance.

Commerzbank, in which the state has been involved since the 2008/2009 financial crisis, is "a very bad example" in this regard.

A clear concept is needed.

Holznagel also criticized errors in the disbursement of state emergency aid.

He cited the practice in the state of Berlin as an example.

A "better check" should have taken place there before transfers were made in order to avoid misuse.

In general, it is also true that the state measures for crisis relief have increased the national debt very significantly.

31 billion euros in taxes for state-owned companies

Overall, the taxpayers' association was critical of the role of the state as an entrepreneur.

The importance of criteria such as services of general interest, with which entrepreneurial commitment by the public sector is justified, urgently "needs to be defined more precisely", demanded Holznagel.

The state has been expanding its economic activities for years, and the number of public companies is now 18,000.

In 2017, taxpayers would have had to raise 31 billion euros for this, added Holznagel.

He was critical of the German regional airports, for example.

In 2018 alone, these should have been supported with more than one hundred million euros from the public budget.

The corona crisis has now clearly worsened its situation once again foreseeable.

Icon: The mirror

caw / dpa / AFP

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2020-10-27

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