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Are Public Debts of the German Federal States Influencing their Financial Scope?

The German Federal States have little impact on their budget. Both, revenues and ex-penditures, are basically determined by federal and European law. For a long time, this situation has been causing increasing debts. Today, public debts are again a top issue. The planned federal “debt brake” includes a gradual reduction and an interdiction of structural debts as from 2020. In a short perspective, this means an additional financial limitation to the public budgets. With regard to the described situation, the main question of this paper is: Do the German states actually have financial scope to realize the implementation of the planned “debt brake”? The analyses show that the financial scope for reducing their structural debts is particularly small in the five Federal States benefitting from additional transfers as from 2010. The highest budget restrictions do show the city states Berlin and Bremen.

27. May 2009

Authors Sabine Freye

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