Politics is sometimes reminiscent of poetry. When the taxpayers’ association presents its black book on public waste once a year, many examples sound like a boomerang poem by Joachim Ringelnatz. “There used to be a boomerang,” he says, “it was a little too long.” The Boomerang flew a little, but never returned. The audience – for hours – waited for the boomerang. “
Too big, too long, too expensive or completely useless, this also applies to many of the 100 cases that Reiner Holznagel, president of the Taxpayers’ Association, testified on Tuesday. In Eschborn, Hesse, a new fire truck was bought for about 680,000 euros, which was unfortunately too heavy and therefore never used. The city returned it – for 440,000 euros.
Leaving coal: In the opinion of the taxpayers’ association, lignite suppliers would leave themselves. Photo: Patrick Pleul / dpa / ZB
Flop: bridge to nowhere
A new bridge was built in Ladenburg in Baden-Württemberg, which now leads over an industrial wasteland. In Parchim, the city wanted to make money with luxury water, which should cost 20 euros per bottle. In the end, only losses will explode. Millions will also be absorbed by the Grand Hotel in Petersberg near Bonn, which is owned by the federal government. Or a regional airport. 100 million miserable euros came together in 2018, excluding new crown losses. Such cases, says Holznagel, are only the “tip of the iceberg.”
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The taxpayers’ association cannot say how much money the public sector is throwing out the window. But “every wasted euro is one too much,” Holznagel criticizes. For example, North Rhine-Westphalia has spent one million euros on an advertisement in which a vegan currywurst leads viewers to a chip shop. The taxpayers’ association thinks that the money should have been better invested in schools.
Flop: energy self-sufficient disco
The “Dance Cube” mobile disco is also considered a loser. The federal government wanted to use the disco to promote energy efficiency. The disco should be run only by the dance moves of the visitors, and should therefore be energy self-sufficient. However, the electricity produced in this way was minimal, but the cost of 1.8 million euros was not exactly economical.
“Every wasted euro is too much,” says Reiner Holznagel, president of the Taxpayers’ Association (BdSt). Photo: picture alliance / dpa
Holznagel believes that the phasing out of coal is also unnecessarily taking taxpayers’ money out of their pockets. Instead of subsidizing the exit from brown coal with billions, politicians simply had to wait and see. The price of CO2 would still make the production of energy from coal just as economically meaningless for public services.
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Flop: Berlin Corona emergency help without checks
Especially in times of corona pandemic, the state must be more careful about citizens ‘money, warns taxpayers’ associations. “Debt clocks are running faster than ever now.” warns Holznagel. The state must help companies, but it must not be done blindly. The Taxpayers’ Association explicitly condemns the provision of emergency aid to the self-employed in Berlin. The disbursement of funds should be better controlled to prevent misuse.
No entry without exit
The association also criticizes the state’s entry into Lufthansa and billions to help the travel company Tui. “What we obviously lack are termination scenarios,” says Holznagel. Where he goes can be seen in Commerzbank, in which the state is still involved today. “Since then, the price has been reduced by 80 percent,” Holznagel criticizes.