FDP and Greens clear the way for Corona aid for municipalities

Offenbach town hall, via dts
Offenbach town hall, via dts
Germany's municipalities can count on rapid financial aid from the federal government because of the exceptional cases caused by the corona - after the Greens parliamentary group, the FDP parliamentary group also decided to approve the necessary amendment to the Basic Law in the Bundestag on Thursday.

This is what the "Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung" reports. FDP parliamentary group vice Christian Dürr said on Wednesday the NOZ: “The FDP parliamentary group today cleared the way for a change in the constitution regarding the cost of accommodation and trade tax. This means that the municipalities will now receive quick financial support. "

Britta Haßelmann, parliamentary director of the Green parliamentary group, said in the meantime the newspaper: “The parliamentary group will agree to the amendment to the constitution. Because the cities and municipalities urgently need our support in this crisis. ”The decision of the FDP came after Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) had asked the liberal MPs for approval on Tuesday evening. “It was important to us that the communities that suffered most from the corona crisis receive targeted help. We were able to implement this with some important changes to Minister Scholz's draft, ”said Dürr. From the FDP's point of view, a change to the Basic Law would not have been necessary. “But it was more important that the money is now paid out quickly to the municipalities,” said Dürr. From Scholz's point of view, the amendment to the Basic Law is necessary so that the federal government can assume a higher share of the municipalities' accommodation costs and also compensate for half of their high losses in trade tax income, the other half should be borne by the states. For the federal government it is about additional expenditure of around 6,1 billion euros. Because the grand coalition does not have a two-thirds majority, it depends on votes from the opposition on Thursday. According to the FDP parliamentary group, the bill was changed in several places. So the countries would now be obliged to disclose the data base for the distribution of the funds and thus to ensure transparency, it said from the group. In addition, the Federal Audit Office should be commissioned to retrospectively review the distribution of the funds by the states. Finally, there should be an evaluation of the bills that municipal bodies submit to the federal government for the reimbursement of accommodation costs. In the past, these had been criticized several times by the Federal Audit Office as excessive. Haßelmann called it "an important signal to make this financial aid available to the cities and municipalities". But it is "regrettable" that the Union and the SPD have not agreed on urgently needed old debt aid for the municipalities. "In view of around 40 billion euros in cash advances in municipalities, there is a need for action here."