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FDP threatens to abolish solidarity tax for former East Germany

The Local · 23 Jul 2011, 11:13

Published: 23 Jul 2011 11:13 GMT+02:00

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The FDP is concerned that the upper house of the German parliament, the Bundesrat, will continue to block the tax cuts that were a key plank of the party's election campaign in 2009. The centre-right governing coalition does not have a majority in the upper house, which represents Germany's 16 federal states.

If it does not get its way, the pro-business party is now threatening to phase out the "Soli," as Germans call the solidarity tax.

FDP finance spokesman Hermann Otto Solms told Saturday's edition of the Rheinischen Post newspaper, "The gradual phase-out of the Soli will be on the agenda if the Bundesrat does not face its responsibilities."

"The 'Soli' can play a decisive role in unburdening the working middle of society," said FDP deputy leader Patrick Döringt.

Frank Schäffler, an even more strident FDP finance politician, demanded a clear timetable: "The Soli should be cut in two steps – January 1, 2012 and January 1, 2013."

The FDP is now preparing to negotiate a proposal with the Christian Democratic Union, should the Bundesrat fail to pass any other tax cuts. The party is even threatening to make such a deal a condition of signing off on Germany's 2012 budget.

A federal court last week knocked back a challenge to the Soli's constitutionality, but the tax's opponents said they would appeal to the country's high court.

Story continues below…

DAPD/The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:06 July 23, 2011 by Englishted
A tiny party in it's death throes.

Take the C.D.U. with you on your way out.
13:49 July 23, 2011 by lunchbreak
East Germany has had two decades of support. Now its time to sink or swim.
16:07 July 23, 2011 by Bushdiver
A tax that should have been stopped years ago.
17:10 July 23, 2011 by vonSchwerin
Even a broken clock tells the right time twice a day.

The FDP may be a dying little party with few innovative ideas, but they are right about the Soli. It's been 20 years. I would say that by 25 to 30 years after reunification, it's time to end this.
00:32 July 24, 2011 by Mark S.
Maybe the Soli is a bad idea, but read the article They want their own set of policies enacted, and the party is going after the Soli "if it doesn't get its way".

A similar thing is happening in the US right now, where the Republican party is threatening to cause the US government to default on its payments. It isn't about policy, but a political maneuver.
07:02 July 24, 2011 by Wrench
First, the tax was only to be temporary.

Second, Helmut said we would get the money back.

Why can't we, as a people, elect officials that can actually run the country instead of spend, spend, spend. We are now electing 'Royalty', I will not be surprised when Britney Spears is elected to congress.
11:31 July 24, 2011 by ECSNatale
Ladies and Gentlemen, witness the phasing out of the FDP. Good ideas or bad, they sound like little, whiny babies every time they open their mouths.

Rather than phase out the Soli because it may be the right thing to do for Germany, they only wish to do so if they don't get their way.

15:15 July 29, 2011 by DoubleDTown
and while they are at it, how about equalizing income between East and West? z.B., Post employees are paid more in the West than the East. Now, I don't doubt that the average Post employee in Munich has higher housing costs than the average post employee in Dresden -- but I don't believe that on average it's fair. I suspect most Wessi Post employees have very similar costs of living to most Ossi employees. How about comparing a Leipzig or Dresden cost of living to some village in Bavaria?

So, as to Lunchbreak's "time to sink or swim" comment: how can the East be completely expected to swim when they only get partial payment? It's trickle down economics. Less money for the Post employees means less for them to spend at the local Tante Laden, etc.
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