Every year, the Taxpayers’ Association publishes the Black Book, a list of particularly costly wrong decisions made by ministries and authorities.
Berlin – Also this year, the taxpayers’ association denounces the waste of millions of taxpayers’ money in its black book and lists a hundred examples from almost all corners of the country. In addition to various construction projects that are several times more expensive than estimated, the publication presented on Wednesday (October 19) also criticizes expenses resulting from the corona pandemic – and alleged free pretzels in Baden-Württemberg.
Another annoyance for the association, which lobbies for tax cuts and the reduction of public debt, was a light show in Berlin in 2022, as reported by the editorial network Germany . Under the motto “A parliamentary search for clues”, laser projectors, spotlights and loudspeakers illuminated the facade of the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus every evening from July to October. The whole campaign cost 1.16 million euros and – in times of energy saving appeals possibly even more drastically – consumed the same amount of electricity as 29,000 WLAN routers.
Association of taxpayers: renewed criticism of mask procurement by the former federal government
The procurement of corona protective masks was again an issue when the Black Book 2022/2023 was presented. While the high costs for the hastily procured protective masks themselves were criticized in the same publication in 2021, this year the main focus is on the aftermath caused by the chaotic open-house tendering process that the CDU Health Minister Jens Spahn initiated had been triggered.
According to the information in the black book, 738 contracts were awarded to 535 contractual partners in the months after the outbreak of the pandemic. 276 million masks of the types FFP2 and KN95 masks as well as 78 million surgical masks were then delivered, which, according to the taxpayers’ association, has meanwhile resulted in further sums in the millions due to various problems and breakdowns. There were disputes about delivery times and defects, and experts were hired as consultants. If you add the costs for legal settlements and legal representation and advice, according to the Black Book, you end up with over 70 million wasted taxpayers’ money.
Criticism of money wasted by authorities: The costs of construction projects are exploding
Construction and monument protection projects also appear in the list of 100 serious cases of wasted money every year. In addition to such curious projects as a heated footpath and cycle path on a bridge in Traunstein, Upper Bavaria, which, according to information from ZDF , caused electricity costs of more than 20,000 euros in 2021, the biggest cost explosions for new buildings are still in the capital after Berlin Airport has gone into operation – or more precisely: in the government district.
For example, according to the latest estimates, the planned expansion of the Chancellery in Berlin will cost 777 million euros, 177 million more than the initially estimated costs, as reported by the German Press Agency . The cost of building the new “Elisabeth-Selbert-Haus”, a new office complex for members of the Bundestag, which was made necessary by the increasing number of overhang mandates in the Bundestag, has also tripled, according to the taxpayers’ association.
Black book: “Free commuter pretzels” cost the country and taxpayers almost 60,000 euros
With eleven examples, Hessen is again represented above average in the list of the most annoying tax wastes. Examples include the Marburg Water Band, a water installation that ensures that drinking water worth 35,000 euros has seeped into the ground in just one summer, the “Pixelrohr” art installation in the Mainz-Kastel district of Wiesbaden, or a 125,000-euro roundabout in Egelsbach.
An action in Baden-Württemberg from the summer of 2022 was also highlighted as a particularly curious case of wasting money. As an incentive for cyclists to ride their bikes to work, people in Baden-Württemberg were allowed to pick up a “free commuter pretzel” from one of hundreds of participating bakery branches on five days in May and five days in June on presentation of a helmet or bicycle. The thing cost the country, however, 58,800 euros. (ska)