Who actually controls the money

You almost don't want to hear this assertion: have no money, can't do anything. And the: Offer money, want to steer for it. These are the two poles between which a bitter dispute is raging in Germany. On the one hand there are the federal states and the municipalities, on the other hand the federal government. And the question is: who is allowed to finance what and under what conditions?

Some, states and municipalities, are responsible for educational tasks. But they fail to be able to offer modern teaching across the board. The other, the federal government, would have the money to help and is also willing to give it. But he wants to be sure that it will also be used in schools.

One could dismiss the dispute as a federal exchange of blows, as a muscle game between the prime ministers and the federal government. If it weren't for 83 million German citizens, whose interests threaten to crumble between the contenders. And it is slowly becoming impossible for outsiders to understand what federalism is needed for in education, for example, when it obviously prevents modern schooling for all children nationwide. Even the pragmatic announcement by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has so far not set anything in motion: "The citizens don't care, they want things to work out."

The Federal Ministry of Finance estimates that Germany will collect around 807 billion euros in taxes and duties this year. The state can use this money to finance its public tasks, from security and infrastructure to social tasks. The fact that education is still not progressing is due to the fact that Germany has a complicated federal system that has provided the federal, state and local governments with different tasks and competencies.

The financial flows in the Federal Republic are correspondingly delicate and complicated. In principle, the federal government, the federal states and the municipalities each have their own sources of income; the most productive, however, they are divided up. Who gets what share of the tax revenue is regulated by law. The financial equalization between the federal government and the federal states, or between the rich and poor federal states, is particularly important. So far, it has been regulated through the distribution of shares in the value added tax revenue and through direct payments between the federal states and between the federal government and the federal states.

The financial equalization of the federal states was reformed in 2017 for the period from 2020, the project was one of the most important of the electoral period. Even then, the federal and state governments had been in a clinch; triggered by the fact that economically strong countries such as Bavaria refused to continue to take over a large part of the financial equalization between the countries. This is the principle: richer countries give sales tax and budget funds to poorer countries - this is intended to bring living conditions into line. A citizen in Western Pomerania should be able to live similarly to someone in Stuttgart. The dispute ended with the federal government buckling in front of the prime ministers of the 16 states and declaring itself ready to take on the role of the richer states. From 2020 onwards, the states will help each other less, but the federal government will pay ten billion euros more to the states.

Similar to the dispute over the digital pact, social housing and local public transport, the federal government pushed for more control rights in return. Offer money, want to steer for it - at that time he put it through; the Basic Law was changed. The federal government may inspect the files of the state authorities.

Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens), however, considers the direct right of control to be a federal fall from man, a gateway into the hell of centralism, in which the states no longer have anything to say but only have to fulfill bureaucratic tasks. Together with other country leaders, the Swabian is currently working on deleting the passage in the new planned changes to the Basic Law. In order for the federal government to be able to promote the digital pact, social housing and local transport, a bundle of amendments to the constitution is necessary. The country leaders only want to agree to this if, in return, the control passage is omitted. But this would disempower the federal government. The Bundestag would have less to say. And this despite the fact that the budget law is the royal right of parliament.

The list of projects in which the federal states booked federal funds differently than agreed is impressive. For example, some of them did not forward the transferred integration lump sum to the municipalities as promised. Some countries refuse to report on how they spend federally remitted refugee costs. Almost all countries book the funds transferred to finance the operating costs for the expansion of the daycare centers elsewhere. It is known that the federal Bafög funds were misappropriated. There are many indications that the federal government should insist on the controls. On Wednesday a decision is to be made in the mediation committee of the federal and state governments.