Steffen Wehmann, Left. Photo: livestream of the city of Leipzig, screenshot: LZ
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As early as August, it was clear that Leipzig would come through the Corona year 2021 much better than planned in the 2021/2022 budget. Final figures for the end of the year are not yet available. Which is why it was a bit of a tightrope walk that the four city councilors Steffen Wehmann (Left), Martin Biederstedt (Greens), Sven Morlok (Freebooters/FDP) and Christian Schulz (SPD) dared to do when they requested six additional expenditure items as an amendment to the finance mayor’s information bill. Scope: 1.2 million euros.
Actually, the city itself was already going to make proposals about what to do with the extra financial leeway it had gained. Trade tax revenues alone were already 130 million euros higher than forecast in August. The word "record revenues" was mentioned in the debate.In the speech of CDU city councilor Claus-Uwe Rothkegel, this was immediately linked to the serious concerns of an entrepreneur, who pointed out that most companies are only now settling their business taxes for 2020.
But you can only really put three dots after a sentence like that: No one knows how tax revenues will actually develop. Even if the major media use this as material for all kinds of oracles, sometimes writing about dramatic slumps, sometimes about surprising additional revenues. As if they could all have looked into the crystal ball beforehand.
But even for the federal government is true that tax revenues have grown significantly in 2021, as the "Spiegel" on 28. January reported.
The economy is up and running again – at least the parts of it that generate the most revenue. And a city like Leipzig does well to support its own companies to the best of its ability. That was the real meaning of the motion of the four city councilors, which was presented by Left City Councilor Steffen Wehmann. Sven Morlok said that "very tight guard rails" had been set and that most of the ideas for spending money had been dropped straight away anyway, and that the focus had been on those that could have an impact beyond 2022.
More money for staff recruitment
Which is just as true of the additional money for the city’s skilled worker recruitment as it is of the money for skilled worker recruitment in the care sector. Even Rothkegel appreciated this, because it has long been part of the city council’s basic experience that many important investment projects in Leipzig are years behind schedule because there is simply a lack of qualified personnel to handle them. The shortage of skilled workers is not only a problem for the private sector, but also for municipalities.
And the same applies to the care sector. And also 100.000 extra for the cluster strategy can be money well spent, as Martin Biederstedt emphasized. When future-oriented clusters (such as IT and communications) develop particularly well and new start-ups are created, this not only secures high-quality jobs in Leipzig, but also generates increasing tax revenues for the city.
Claus-Uwe Rothkegel found nevertheless only three points of application from CDU view worth supporting. And he also expressed his skepticism that tax revenues would continue like this in 2022. The lack of more recent figures on the budget situation was already noticeable.
But there was no real objection from the city administration that the 1.2 million euros could not be found or that the state directorate would veto it.
The points were then nevertheless voted individually. And got all quite clear majorities. The most important thing then is indeed that the city can now use more money to attract urgently needed skilled personnel.
Claus-Uwe Rothkegel, CDU. Photo: livestream of the city of Leipzig, screenshot: LZ
Money for the mobility week
But even the money for European Mobility Week got a majority vote that passed 150.000 euros (as in the previous year) are therefore available, even if the administration has not yet presented a concept for the implementation of the mobility week. But while SPD city councillor Heiko Bar said it was necessary to wait for the concept first, the four applicants thought it was important to make the money available now:
"The concept for the further development of the European Mobility Week, developed on the part of the Transport and Public Works Department, will be approved according to resolution VII-A-06489 of 08.12.2021 by the city council probably decided in February 2022," it says in its motion. "In addition to the decision on the concept, the provision of funds thus creates the second prerequisite by the city council for the successful implementation of European Mobility Week in Leipzig."
Because the mobility week will take place in any case, even if it is in the eyes of Heiko bear rather only a marketing measure and the money in genuine mobility projects is better put on. But in the meantime, the Mobility Weeks are also having an increasingly strong effect on the urban society, which is rethinking bit by bit and increasingly sees the environmentally friendly modes of transport as real alternatives in a climate change in which the old, fossil-based mode of transport can have no future.
And one notices this also here and there in the acting of the city guidance, which does not pass over the interests of the lasting, because environmentalfair traffic any longer so quietly, even if the reorientation is visibly heavy. This is another reason why Mobility Week is so important: it shows that there are some very tangible alternatives to the beloved automobile.
Otherwise, the information template was only to be taken note of. Whereby one may be curious now, what will stand in the next information presentation to the Leipzig budget situation.