In Brandenburg, the state government, districts and municipalities want to avoid new distribution fights for money by 2026 as far as possible. A corresponding agreement was signed in Potsdam on Thursday between the state, the association of towns and municipalities and the district council.
According to this, the basic structure of the municipal financial equalization that is now being practiced to finance the 400 municipalities, fourteen districts and four urban districts will be extended until 2026 – the first year after the next state elections in 2025.
At the same time, both sides agreed on financing in connection with the accommodation of almost 26,000 Ukraine refugees in the country this year, for which the federal government is now providing 60 million euros. The counties will receive 38.9 million euros, the four large cities 11.1 million euros, and the state ten million euros.
“The municipalities need this clarity,” said Finance Minister Katrin Lange (SPD). It was a fair compromise. The representatives of the municipalities “are reasonable, down-to-earth and practice-oriented people who are not interested in petty long-term disputes.”
Normally, the municipal financial equalization in Brandenburg is determined every two years via external reports. An exception is being made because of the Ukraine crisis, which seamlessly followed the pandemic.
You have better things to do, said Lange. It will remain at the current association quota of 22.43 percent until 2026 – the share that the municipalities receive in the state’s income. It is currently around 2.5 billion euros from the state budget, which, according to the forecasts, assumes that revenues will continue to rise despite the crises.
The compensation fund for over-indebted municipalities, in which 40 million euros are available annually, remains at this level. What is new is that, according to Interior Minister Michael Stübgen (CDU), municipalities “which for whatever reason” have a significantly below-average financial strength per inhabitant should receive a surcharge.
The presidents of the central associations, Oliver Herrmann (Community Association) and District Administrator Siegurd Heinze (County Council) were satisfied. There was unanimous approval in the bodies of both organizations.
The state and local level are rarely so harmonious. Education Minister Britta Ernst (SPD) put the long-overdue reform of daycare law and daycare financing for this electoral period on hold after the district council vetoed it because the crisis was overburdened. The blockade by the municipal level is controversial and viewed critically, even within the ranks of the Kenya coalition.
Nevertheless, the state made no attempt to obtain willingness for the day-care center law reform in return for the financial concessions from the communal family. Lange said you have to accept the attitude of the local level. When asked, Heinze reiterated the position that there was no capacity for such a reform in the districts during this election period.