Germany's Rüttgers Rebels Against Govt Tax Cut Plans
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister, Jürgen Rüttgers, has
expressed his fierce opposition to the tax cut plans of the German coalition government,
three months ahead of the state elections.
Eager to raise his profile and to win all-important votes, Christian Democratic
Union (CDU) party member Rüttgers has distanced himself from the finance
policy of coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party (FDP), and threatened
to veto the government’s proposed 2011 tax reform, if this is to result
in an increased burden on municipalities.
Rüttgers defiantly announced that North Rhine-Westphalia will not agree
to any measures that will lead to the closure of theatres and swimming pools
in towns and communities, nor will he approve any initiatives that will serve
to delay the expansion of nursery schools.
Emphasizing the fact that the welfare of the community is of greater importance
than tax reductions, Rüttgers argued that in truth there is no scope to
implement tax cuts, which are not guaranteed to create jobs anyway.
Rüttgers repeated his calls for the introduction of a stock market sales
tax in Germany, stating that, if necessary, a levy must be implemented at national
level. He also rejected the FDP’s plans to introduce a health premium,
highlighting the fact that, given the lack of social balance, such a levy is
unjust and would place too great a burden on many individuals.
Responding to the Rüttger’s criticisms, Deputy Prime Minister of
North Rhine-Westphalia, Andreas Pinkwart (FDP), underlined the fact that a simpler,
lower, fairer tax system is a key component of the coalition agreement, and
that efforts should be made to create scope to implement fair taxes.