Greens leader Omid Nouripour has brought a reduction in climate-damaging subsidies into play to finance additional relief for citizens. “When financing the relief measures, you also have to talk about reducing climate-damaging subsidies. A reform of the company car privilege is overdue,” said Nouripour of the German Press Agency.
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“We have to design such subsidies in a targeted, environmentally friendly way. Two-thirds of the privileged company cars are cars with more than 200 hp,” Nouripour continues. It is about incorporating climate effects into company car taxation and about incentives for zero-emission cars.
If you can also use your company car privately, you have what is known as a pecuniary benefit that must be taxed. If no logbook is kept, the monthly flat rate is one percent of the gross list price of the vehicle. According to the Federal Environment Agency, the actual monetary benefit for the user is often significantly higher.
According to this, the state evades taxes of at least three billion euros annually. Environmental groups have been calling for a reform of the company car tax privilege for a long time. The Greens’ election program states that company car taxation should be socially and ecologically redesigned.
“The fundamental question is whether the German automotive industry would remain competitive on the world market with a business model that primarily relies on large combustion engines that emit a lot of CO2,” said Nouripour. “It’s time for a rethink, as soon as possible and that’s what the companies are doing too.”
Some parties act as if they are on the side of the auto industry. At best, they are the patron saints of the past. It is unfortunate that the most attractive electric car is currently being built by Tesla and not by the German car manufacturers. That has to change. “There is a rethinking in companies. But that must also be accompanied politically.”
In view of the sharp rise in energy prices, the coalition is currently discussing additional relief for citizens. Nouripour said that targeted relief is needed in parallel with the gas surcharge. “This means that if the gas surcharge works, people need to know what measures they can expect. We will not be able to absorb the entire burden.” A relief package with targeted measures for small and medium incomes is needed.
The state gas levy from October will make gas bills more expensive. With the gas surcharge, importers will be able to pass on procurement costs to consumers from October due to the severe cutbacks in Russian gas supplies.
To finance a new relief package, the Greens leader also spoke out in favor of an excess profit tax. “High company profits as a result of the crisis affect many people’s sense of justice. There are states in the European Union that have already introduced an excess profit tax. Incidentally, Spain uses the revenue to finance free public transport,” said Nouripour.
In Germany, the nine-euro ticket, which is limited to three months, expires at the end of August. “It’s obvious that almost everyone wants a successor to the nine-euro ticket,” says Nouripour. “It is necessary that money is also spent on infrastructure at the same time, i.e. that the regionalization funds agreed in the coalition agreement flow. And of course, the question is also what contribution the federal states can make to a follow-up solution.” In this “triangle”, he believes this is more than feasible.
The Greens have already submitted a proposal for a regional 29-euro or a nationwide 49-euro ticket, which he is promoting. “It is crucial that we continue to ensure affordable mobility for people, especially in local public transport, especially in these times.”
Nouripour went on to say that there are a number of elements in a relief package that need to be discussed – “from the housing benefit reform to the increase in child benefit or a new edition of the energy price flat rate”.
The proposal by Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) to reduce cold progression comes at the wrong time. “Now it is important to relieve the burden on small and middle incomes. If you only have a limited amount of money to spend, you have to prioritise.” Structural changes such as basic child security are also needed to combat child poverty.
Nouripour questioned compliance with the debt brake in the coming year. “In times of an ongoing pandemic and a war with all the consequences it entails, you have to spend more money than the debt brake has allowed us to do so far.” Massive investments are also necessary for the past few years “sleepy restructuring” of society in climate protection and digitization.