Today I attended the Baden-Württemberg Municipal Conference in Stuttgart. As the smallest cell of our state, municipalities take on a variety of tasks in society and must not fall victim to financial bottlenecks. Their concerns must also be heard in Brussels. Nevertheless, the financial burdens are constantly increasing.
The long arm of the EU Parliament is strong. Large parts of EU regulations have a direct or indirect influence on the work of municipalities. When it comes to their implementation, the municipalities are often on the front line. The challenges are not only extensive, but also diverse: cyber security, all-day care, the Green Deal.
In addition to these major investment projects, there are the financial burdens from the Corona pandemic. Since March 2020, the municipalities have not only continued to provide the services necessary in everyday life to the citizenry, but have also had to bear the costs of the suddenly necessary pandemic response (such as testing). Further, the municipalities have taken losses in the revenues of their local facilities, from indoor swimming pools to music schools.
The present financial plight of the municipality must not be reflected in higher taxes, as was already suggested by some towns in Baden-Württemberg at the beginning of the year. Instead, the financial assistance demanded by the state and the EU’s municipal-relevant support programme are the right way to stop burdening small and medium-sized enterprises and to emerge from the crisis stronger as a community.