Several state premiers belonging to Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) warned over the weekend that party should not include a promise to lower taxes in its campaign platform.
Stanislaw Tillich, Wolfgang Böhmer and Peter Harry Carstensen, the state premiers of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein, said Germany simply could not afford to do so in the current economic climate.
“I don't see how tax cuts could be paid for in light of the stimulus package costing billions,” Tillich told news magazine Der Spiegel.
But facing reelection in September, Merkel wants to dangle the promise of lowering the burden of taxpayers in the period of 2010 to 2013 in front of voters.
Complicating matters for the conservatives is the position of the CDU's Bavarian allies in the Christian Social Union (CSU), which has consistently demanded tax cuts.
“The worst thing would be for politicians to declare after the revenue forecast that they have no room to manoeuvre anymore,” CSU chairman Horst Seehofer told public broadcaster ARD. “Exactly the opposite must occur: especially when times are tough politicians need to set the course.”