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"A party tactical escalation is not the right answer"

Hamburg's Finance Senator Andreas Dressel has called on the federal and state governments to find a quick solution to the dispute over the third relief package.

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"A party tactical escalation is not the right answer"

Hamburg's Finance Senator Andreas Dressel has called on the federal and state governments to find a quick solution to the dispute over the third relief package. There are legitimate concerns on the part of the federal states, said the Social Democrat on Tuesday - and added: "A mutual blockade and a party tactical escalation, a bickering in this situation - where we are approaching such a difficult autumn and winter - but that's with it Certainly not the right answer.”

If temperatures went down outside and up in political circles "without a solution being found", that would be "the last thing people and companies expect at this stage". From the economy in particular, the signals are clear that it is not five to twelve, but already five after twelve. Consequently, according to Dressel, the energy cost containment program must be opened up not only to energy-intensive companies but also to small and medium-sized companies. This requires "timely clarification", otherwise "some companies will be flat in February", stressed Dressel.

The time factor is now decisive, the finance senator directs “an urgent request to the federal government”: “We need an understanding between Mr. Habeck and Mr. Lindner on this question, how much corporate aid is necessary, how much is possible – and how do we get it quickly on the road, so administratively that it is felt in the companies' accounts in a timely manner."

The federal government's third relief package from the SPD, Greens and FDP comprises a total of 65 billion euros and is intended to cushion the massive increase in the cost of living. According to their own statements, the federal states should raise 19 billion euros of this. However, several state governments are threatening to say no to the package in the Bundesrat. They accuse the traffic light coalition of having decided, without consultation, that the federal states should contribute billions to the cost of the relief measures.

Federal Council President Bodo Ramelow (left) sharply criticized the way the federal government dealt with the states on Tuesday. "For me, there is actually no trusting cooperation between the federal government and us," said Ramelow to the "Web.de News" portal. The federal government intervenes directly in the state budgets without prior consultation. "It's like a waiter who comes and presents the bill without having rendered any service."

The taxpayers' association, meanwhile, sees the states as having an obligation to participate in the financing of the third relief package. "The current crises must be mastered at the national level, which is why the federal states must not leave the federal government alone," said Taxpayers' Association President Reiner Holznagel to the newspapers of the Funke media group (Tuesday editions). 15 out of 16 federal states would have budget surpluses totaling almost 27 billion this summer. The federal government, meanwhile, has a budget deficit of 66 billion euros.

Finance Senator Dressel pointed out on Tuesday that after the federal government's relief packages I and II, Hamburg "in principle also supports the third relief package". But of course the city-state must also point out the consequences and how the expenditure would be financed. It is about a "well-balanced tableau in the federal-state financial structure". Dressel: "What drives us is that we countries remain able to act."

With the federal government's third relief package, the Hamburg budget will face additional expenditure in the billions. According to the current status, at least 2.3 billion euros can be expected for the years up to 2027, said Dressel. In order to be able to shoulder these expenses, the finance senator is demanding relief from the federal government "elsewhere" - in addition to economic aid, support for cultural institutions and the continuation of the pact for the rule of law and the refugee costs to be renegotiated from November. That is the basis for the upcoming talks.

The finance ministers of the federal and state governments will meet on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, and the conference of prime ministers will follow in September. The heads of government of the federal states will meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) on September 28 for an extraordinary conference.

From the finance senator's point of view, it is crucial that the federal government "shows very clearly and precisely a way of implementing its measures on the energy market" - in such a way that "we know how the electricity price brake works". This would relieve the federal-state dispute. "When it comes to the current challenges, we have to get to the root of the problem - and that is the excessive development of energy prices," said Dressel. All other transfer services are a follow-up repair.

His conclusion for Hamburg: "We got through the Corona crisis well and are economically and financially strong enough to get our citizens, companies and institutions through the winter." ensure sporting infrastructure.

Specifically, Dressel announced that, in addition to the relief package, Hamburg would set up an “energy crisis emergency fund” with start-up capital of EUR 125 million in order to bundle additional measures. "But we won't be able to equalize everything," said Dressel.

According to the President of the Hamburg Chamber of Crafts, Hjalmar Stemmann, many companies had hoped that relief from the Hamburg emergency fund would start on Tuesday. "And such a positive signal is urgently needed in the short term in order to give the companies a perspective for the coming weeks and months," explained Stemmann, pushing for a "rapidly quick agreement" between the federal and state governments. "Because in the trades and medium-sized businesses, resentment and fear are growing every day that Germany is waiting for it."

The budget spokesman for the CDU parliamentary group, Thilo Kleibauer, had also expected more details on the Hamburg emergency fund. Because "the people and companies in Hamburg need clarity quickly as to how and when the promised measures will take effect". In addition to a reliable energy supply, this requires both targeted aid programs and relief. "Hamburg must not put the brakes on here and question the dismantling of the cold progression, while the citizens are affected by massive price increases," said Kleibauer.

The left-wing budget expert, David Stoop, has meanwhile described the planned federal relief packages as "insufficient and grossly antisocial": "More than half of Hamburg's financial contributions for federal measures are to flow into Lindner's tax law, of which the lower third of the population have nothing at all Hamburg should therefore become active itself and offer a discounted basic allotment of heat for Hamburg households. Furthermore, "the excess profit tax should finally be passed," said Stoop.

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