The state of Berlin is spending more money than ever before. The Berlin House of Representatives approved the double budget for the years 2022/2023 with a total volume of 76.6 billion euros on Thursday. Due to the additional revenue from taxes, Parliament was ultimately able to invest more money than was proposed by the Senate.
Additional income of more than 500 million euros is expected this year, and more than 700 million euros next year. In particular, high inflation is pumping up the national budget. These are important items in the new state budget:
The Senate has set aside 1.3 billion euros for the care of Ukraine refugees. The money is held in reserve by the financial administration and can be used as required. Most of them are federal funds. A reserve of 380 million euros will be formed for the impending energy crisis. This is intended to cushion the massive increase in energy costs for the state of Berlin but also for poorer people.
There is still plenty of money from the reserve for the corona pandemic. Among other things, it is used to compensate for losses at state companies such as the BVG or to stimulate the Berlin economy again.
750 million euros are still left. When the money is no longer needed for the consequences of the pandemic, Finance Senator Daniel Wesener (Greens) wants to use it to pay off debts. The SPD is already questioning that.
One of the largest single items in the budget is for school construction. Almost one billion euros will be invested in the program in 2023 alone. The Senate subsidizes housing construction with an annual amount of 750 million euros – a total of 1.5 billion euros. The grants can cover up to 25 percent of the investment in a construction project. The coalition has taken out 450 million euros as a loan for potentially extremely rising construction costs. However, the funds are initially blocked until 2024.
Annual state spending on local public transport now amounts to more than 1.2 billion euros, around 20 percent more than in the previous year. A reserve of 100 million euros was created for future investments in buses, trains and bicycle traffic, 70 million of which for rail traffic.
Parliament recently released 30 million euros in planning costs for the subway expansion (especially for U3 and U7) and 20 million euros for the development of a dial-a-bus system on the outskirts.
In total, more than 3,700 new jobs will be created in the public sector. 610 new police officers and 100 firefighters are hired, and two new fire stations are built. 1,400 people, teachers and social workers, are to be added to the schools. 400 new employees will be added to the district offices. Most recently, Parliament gave money for some jobs in the fines office.
Berlin should become greener. For this purpose, 30 million euros will be invested to turn parking spaces into parks and to unseal more areas. The BSR gets two million euros more for the maintenance of parks, four million for the central collection of bulky waste.
With more than five million euros, forests are to become mixed forests that counteract climate change. Street trees should be protected and new ones planted.