On October 19, Mayor Dr. Frank Mentrup and Finance Mayor Gabriele Luczak-Schwarz presented a new draft budget for the city of Karlsruhe. In the municipal council, they presented the alarming numbers and an ever-growing mountain of debt to the parliamentary groups and the public, with debts of over 1.5 billion euros by 2026.
Previously, the city had debts of between 150 and 300 million euros over the past 10 years, which are now expected to quintuple within a few years.
The figures, which were also known to the Free Voters faction and FÜR Karlsruhe in advance and therefore did not surprise anyone, were presented with relative composure and adorned with good intentions for the future. Lord Mayor Dr. In the face of enormous debts, Frank Mentrup said that only the money that is available can be spent.
“This statement is correct, but in the next few years we will be spending money that we don’t have and that our grandchildren still have to pay back,” says City Councilor Friedemann Kalmbach, adding that “our mayor is obviously finding it difficult to limit himself financially and consistently questioning the spending list, which is simply too long, is alarming”.
The main cause of the high-deficit financial problem is not a lack of income, as suggested by a 10-point plan presented by the city administration, but that too much money is being spent.
“We are heading towards over a billion in debt! You can’t tackle this mountain of debt with one-off tax increases and a legally unsecured 10-point plan, but by tackling the big spending problem,” says Petra Lorenz, adding: “Many of our urban societies live on enormous subsidies. If the deficits in this area could be mitigated, then this would contribute to financial relaxation. There is a lot to do there.”
Unfortunately, the speeches did not calm the group’s worries and fears about the city’s financial situation. On the contrary, because Finance Mayor Gabriele Luczak-Schwarz describes the difficult situation herself: “If we don’t correct our course, we will slide into debt in the next few years, which will then no longer be approvable.”
Jürgen Wenzel draws a worrying prognosis from this: “The budget contribution confirms the concerns of our group: If we don’t finally take countermeasures, we will be deprived of the royal right to organize the budget for our city. That would be a severe blow for the city council, all citizens and the following generations, to whom we are leaving a financial crisis!”.
The group announces that they will not agree to increases in spending and will put proposals for savings on the table. “We must do everything to prevent forced administration, which will ultimately affect social institutions, clubs and cultural institutions – and thus all citizens,” says the parliamentary group.