The Federal Council has recently met more often for special sessions than for regular meetings. Today, the countries advise regularly. A decision on the Bundeswehr special fund is also pending.
This Friday, the Federal Council wants to finally pave the way for billions in investments in the Bundeswehr. To do this, the chamber of states must pass an amendment to the Basic Law with a two-thirds majority, just as the Bundestag did a week ago. The approval of the countries is considered safe.
A new Article 87a is included in the Basic Law. It regulates that loans of 100 billion euros for a special fund can be taken out for the Bundeswehr without the debt brake. The money will be used to buy new planes, helicopters, ships, tanks and ammunition in the coming years. But it is also about equipment such as night vision devices and radios.
The German government is reacting to the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. Years of savings in the Bundeswehr and its focus on foreign missions have led to the fact that the troops today have significant deficits in national and alliance defense. Tanks, planes and ships are partly outdated or not ready for use. This is also painfully evident when it comes to the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine. According to the official statement, the Bundeswehr has hardly anything that it can do without and which it can relinquish.
In recent months, the Bundesrat’s agenda has often been thin – because after the change of government only a few legislative projects came out of the Bundestag for the states to decide on. That is changing now. The chamber of states wants to approve several laws recently passed by the Bundestag this Friday.
Federal Budget 2022
The 2022 federal budget passed by the Bundestag a week ago provides for expenditure of around 496 billion euros. The new borrowing amounts to almost 139 billion euros. Due to the high expenditure for the consequences of the corona pandemic and the Ukraine war, the federal government is again clearly tearing the debt brake anchored in the Basic Law. Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) wants to comply with them again from 2023.
Millions of pensioners can look forward to a significant increase in their payments on July 1st. Pensions will rise by 5.35 percent in the West and by 6.12 percent in the East. Improvements are also planned for people who have been receiving a disability pension for some time. The increase is as strong as it has been for a long time, which can be attributed to the good wage development in Germany.
Even those who only earn the statutory minimum wage will soon be better off financially. It will rise to 12 euros on October 1st. The lower wage limit is currently EUR 9.82 gross. As of July 1, it will rise to EUR 10.45 as scheduled. The traffic light government had decided on the unscheduled increase to 12 euros in its coalition agreement. Around 6.2 million employees will benefit from this.
Corona care bonus
With the care bonus, the federal government wants to reward the special burden on caregivers in hospitals and care facilities during the corona pandemic. The premium is graded according to qualifications, working hours and proximity to care and can amount to up to 550 euros. It is tax and duty free. People who work full-time in direct patient care receive the highest bonus. The federal government is providing one billion euros for this.
Corona tax aid
This is about a whole package: employees can also claim a home office flat rate of a maximum of 600 euros in their tax return for this year. The deadline for filing the tax return has been moved from the end of July to the end of October. If you have them done by a tax consultant, you have even more time. The degressive depreciation for movable assets such as machines or vehicle fleets is extended by one year.
Companies can also offset current losses against profits from the two previous years to a greater extent than before. Employer grants for short-time work benefits will remain tax-free until mid-2022. And corona bonus payments from employers are also not taxed up to an amount of 4500 euros.
Moratorium on Hartz IV sanctions
The Hartz IV sanctions will be partially suspended until the middle of next year. This is in anticipation of the major citizen income reform planned by the traffic lights. For one year, the possibility of reducing the unemployment benefit II by 30 percent in the event of a breach of duty – for example if a reasonable job is not accepted – is no longer available. Failure to report during this period will only be penalized in the event of a recurrence with a reduction of the standard requirement by a maximum of ten percent.