Christian Lindner on July 1st in Berlin
Photo: Stefan Boness/Ipon / IPON / IMAGO
Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner has defended his plans for tax relief from next year against criticism.
"It's socially balanced," said the FDP leader on Wednesday evening in ZDF's "heute journal".
“The strong shoulders will continue to bear a great burden.
But they are not burdened any more.
And above all, we make sure that people who don't really have broad shoulders don't suddenly pay more taxes as a result of inflation.« It's a »pure inflation adjustment«.
According to the finance minister, 48 million citizens will benefit from the relief.
In total, more than ten billion euros are involved.
In percentage terms, low earners are relieved much more than top earners - but in absolute figures it looks different.
Because citizens with high incomes pay higher tax rates, the absolute relief for higher incomes is also significantly greater than for low incomes.
In addition, people with very low incomes pay no income tax at all.
From the opposition, but also from the Green coalition partner, Lindner's initiative is therefore criticized as socially unbalanced.
The financial policy spokeswoman for the Greens in the Bundestag, Katharina Beck, had criticized Lindner's plans as "not up to date": "Strong shoulders would have to carry more than low-income ones and not be disproportionately relieved."
Many SPD left-wingers also consider Lindner's tax plans to be unfair.
Party leader Lars Klingbeil struck a different note on Wednesday, however. He told SPIEGEL that the finance minister's proposals were "constructive."
Lindner now emphasized that the proposed tax relief was capped.
»The additional relief ends at an annual income of 62,000 euros – or from there there is no longer any additional benefit.
That is about 1.5 times the median income in Germany.
From this point there is no further relief.« According to Lindner's plans, the maximum tax relief for an individual is 479 euros in the coming year.
The FDP leader also referred to other measures aimed at people with low incomes.
That's what he called the relief packages that have already been decided, with a one-off payment for Hartz IV recipients and a heating subsidy for housing benefit recipients.
He also recalled coalition plans for a reform of the housing allowance and a conversion of Hartz IV into a new "citizen's allowance": "We'll take care of the people who don't get their homes heated with the new housing allowance, and there are citizen's allowances for the people on basic security.«
's plans come at the wrong time
"A reform in which the higher earners nominally gain more comes at the wrong time": With these words, Veronika Grimm commented on Lindner's plans.
"In principle, however, it is correct: the cold progression should be compensated for," she told the "Rheinische Post".
On the one hand, it makes sense to relieve the middle of society in view of the high inflation.
"On the other hand, we currently need relief, primarily for lower and middle incomes, who cannot bear the hardships caused by the price increases on their own," said the member of the Advisory Council on the assessment of overall economic development.