Budget – Karlsruhe – Court of Auditors warns Green and Blacks to discipline spending – economy

Stuttgart (dpa / lsw) – Faced with high inflation and the threat of gas shortage, the Court of Auditors asked the green and black state government to exercise moderation and increase crisis preparedness. On Monday in Stuttgart, President Günther Benz criticized the fact that ministries had requested additional spending in the double budget 2023/2024, despite the narrow scope of action. “You should separate what is necessary from what is desired,” Benz said. Departments would have to put aside some of the things they would like to do because of the crisis. The financial controller warned the government to reassess plans, such as the renovation of the Stuttgart State Opera, and to carefully examine the grant programs for their benefits. It is a priority for the government to have sufficient buffers available should the crisis worsen.

Financial freedom is almost nine times over-subscribed

Shortly before the presentation of the Court of Auditors’ 2022 memorandum, it became apparent that departments had requested significant additional expenditure. Although in the planned double budget for 2023/2024 only EUR 890 million is to be allocated to additional expenses, the ministers of the Greens and the CDU reported a need for over EUR 7.6 billion. Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann and Finance Minister Danyal Bayaz (both Greens) have repeatedly called on ministries to moderate. Bayaz fears a fall in tax revenues in the fall due to the gas crisis, which could have dramatic consequences for the double budget. Next Tuesday, the government’s Budget Committee will meet to decide how to distribute the additional expenses.

Benz warned ministries that in the face of the crisis, they need to think about their own priorities and not leave everything behind the door of the finance department. According to reports, the additional requirements of the Minister of the Interior and Deputy Prime Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU) alone exceed the entire range of EUR 890 million. The list of Health Minister Manfred Lucha (Greens), responsible for managing the crown, is said to be over 850 million euros. FDP faction leader Hans-Ulrich Rülke mocked that the government had apparently had to get used to being expelled from the financial “land of milk and honey.” Referring to Strobel’s wishes, he said, “Of course the loss of reality is progressing a lot.”

Appeal: Check out plans for the renovation of the Stuttgart Opera

The Court of Auditors also called for a review of the restructuring plans for the Stuttgart Opera. The conversion, which has so far been valued at a billion euros, is a “big investment,” said Benz. The need for renovation of the over 100-year-old house is indisputable. But in times of crisis one has to ask if there could be other reasonable plans that could lead to a smaller and more profitable solution. Benz also believes that it is possible to extend the renovation over time. “I wouldn’t think it was a bad decision to check it,” said the examiner.

The state and city of Stuttgart want to co-finance the project. Whether it is possible to maintain the current budget of over one billion euros is heavily questioned. Recently, there have also been doubts in the green and black coalition as to whether the restructuring can be sustained in times of crisis. First of all, the parliamentary group of the CDU wants the plan to be revised again. The Ministry of Finance pointed out that the costs will be spread over ten years and have not yet been incurred.

Criticism of the watering can of the minister of transport regarding electromobility

The Court of Auditors has accused Transport Minister Winfried Hermann (the Greens) of launching mass funding programs promoting electromobility, not knowing exactly what they are supposed to achieve. Out of 17 programs, only 4 really worked. Benz complained that the expenses and income were disproportionate. Most of the programs could be abandoned. Here, too, the question should be asked: “Was it necessary or was it desirable?”

The Court of Auditors asks: Why does the country need so many breeding stallions?

The main and state stud in Marbach was also put under scrutiny. Auditors fear the country will have to spend more than the previous € 6 million to cover the deficit. But Benz also said, “We are not questioning Marbach.” Nevertheless, the stud needs to be managed more economically. Although the private supply of breeding stallions is large, the stud did not reduce its stock. Inspectors also questioned whether Marbach really needs to be expanded into an international sports and tournament facility for 45 million euros. “Is it absolutely necessary now?” Asked Benz.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220717-99-56081 / 3

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