Berlin When Armin Laschet (CDU) presented his immediate program, two questions remained unanswered: How expensive will the relief it entails for the tax authorities? And how should that be financed? Well there is a first answer.
The Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) has calculated the volume of some measures in the immediate program. After that, these alone cost around ten billion euros. “The Union’s proposals benefit families. However, they are also expensive, ”says ZEW researcher Sebastian Siegloch. In addition, there are other planned reliefs such as the abolition of the solidarity surcharge, which the Union is calling for in the election manifesto.
The Union’s candidate for chancellor presented the four-sided emergency program on Monday following deliberations by his party’s top leadership. With the package of measures that Laschet wants to implement quickly as Chancellor, he wants to score points in terms of content in the final spurt of the election campaign and thus catch up. In surveys, the Union is currently behind the SPD. According to a new Forsa survey, the SPD currently has 25 percent of the vote, the Union only 21 percent.
In its concept, the CDU holds out the prospect of a number of reliefs and new subsidies for citizens and companies. Relief for families is at the heart of the paper. Among other things, the child tax allowance is to be increased to the level of the general basic tax allowance, and child benefit is to increase in parallel. Single parents should also be better off from a tax point of view through a higher tax relief amount.
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In the election manifesto there was still talk of raising both “in perspective”. Now it should happen immediately. In addition, the employee lump sum, which a taxpayer can deduct from tax annually, is to increase to 1250 euros. So that schoolchildren, students and part-time jobs have more money in their wallets, the Union wants to increase the mini job limit immediately from 450 to 550 euros per month.
Dynamization of the commuter allowance
The Union also promises to “dynamize” the commuter allowance and thus make it more generous. This goes back to a move by CSU boss Markus Söder, who announced in an interview with Handelsblatt that there should be “one cent more commuter flat rate for every ten cents higher fuel price as compensation for rural areas”.
Laschet made no information on Monday how expensive the measures are for the tax authorities. According to the ZEW, however, a few billions come together. The higher child benefit and the higher child allowance alone cost 6.3 billion euros. The higher employee lump sum is 2.7 billion euros, the higher mini-job limit with 0.6 and the relief amount with 0.4 billion euros. In addition, there would be other costs, such as the free master craftsman training and the new design of the commuter allowance.
The ZEW points out that one component has been changed for each calculation. Counter-financing for the higher child benefit, for example, was initially not taken into account, but the pure costs were shown.
The economist Jens Südekum, who is a member of the SPD, had criticized the Union’s immediate program. “The financing of these measures is completely unclear,” said Südekum, who is a member of the scientific advisory board of the Federal Ministry of Economics. “There will be budget holes in the double-digit billion range.” Wishing to compensate for this through economic growth alone is not realistic.
High costs without new debt?
“If your immediate program is to be realistic, the Union must rethink its position on the debt brake,” said Südekum. Laschet therefore has to say openly that he will continue to rely on higher debts in the years to come. The Union has emphasized that it wants to comply with the debt brake as soon as possible.
There was less criticism of the individual measures themselves. Finally, the relief of the families can also be found in the programs of other parties. With the immediate program, the Union has now named concrete measures, while political competition in its tax plans often remains vague.
In their election program, which the Union presented in early summer, the CDU and CSU were even more reluctant to give some relief. For example, in the draft there was a proposal to increase the employee lump sum. In the finished election program one again refrained from it. The reason given at the time was that not everything could be financed due to the tense financial situation. Now the Union is turning two weeks before the election and promises more generous relief.
More: Prime Minister Bouffier: “Armin Laschet rules successfully – and not Legoland”