To cushion the gas levy
Demand for excess profit tax is getting louder
08/15/2022, 6:45 p.m
The gas surcharge is expensive for many. In the debate about relief, the call for an excess profit tax is getting louder. This could affect oil and gas companies with big profits. In the coalition, only the smallest party is strictly against it.
In view of the additional costs in the billions for private households and companies as a result of the introduction of the gas surcharge, calls for further state aid are increasing – especially for those on lower incomes. To finance relief, the debate about an excess profit tax is also gaining momentum. In the traffic light coalition, the Greens and the SPD are also in favor of an additional tax, while the FDP rejects it. The opposition left is in favor, and even the CDU understands the demand.
The excess profit tax would be intended for companies that benefit from the crisis without their own performance. In Great Britain, for example, oil and gas companies must temporarily pay 25 percent tax on their additional profits. Spain is also planning such a levy.
Minister of Economics Robert Habeck of the Green Party recently announced that the Federal Government, Minister of Economics Robert Habeck, said: If companies make “good excess profits” under the current circumstances, the debate should be held as to whether these profits can be used to cushion hardship and poverty, Habeck said. “You know I think that’s right,” he added.
“Must be quick now”
SPD leader Lars Klingbeil also insisted on the introduction of an excess profit tax in order to finance relief for consumers through the gas surcharge from October 1st. At the same time, he urged Chancellor Olaf Scholz to make quick decisions on this matter. “We have firmly agreed in the government that we will continue to relieve the burden on the citizens,” Klingbeil told the Welt television station, “but it must now be done quickly, very soon”.
This could also include tax relief or the further development of the 9-euro ticket. In addition, it must be ensured that tenants do not “fly out of the apartment afterwards because of the high energy prices”. The taxation of excessive corporate profits should also contribute to the financing of relief. “The excess profit tax is a model that I prefer,” said Klingbeil. He referred to examples in other European countries.
Left party leader Martin Schirdewan reiterated his party’s demand that those who profited from the crisis and those who profited from the war “have to bear a fair share of the burden of the crisis” through an excess profit tax. Schirdewan criticized the gas levy as a “resounding slap in the face” in the face, particularly of low-income households. With the surcharge set at 2.419 cents per kilowatt hour, the federal government is continuing a policy of “axing social cohesion”.
Bremen’s Mayor Andreas Bovenschulte from the SPD also spoke out in favor of introducing an excess profit tax: “Incidental profits from energy companies” should be skimmed off in this way in order to completely compensate most people for the costs of the gas levy, he wrote on social media. “The state is now obliged to fully relieve middle and low income earners of the costs of the levy,” said Bovenschulte.
CDU Prime Minister shows understanding
The CDU also understands the demand for an excess profit tax: According to Schleswig-Holstein’s Prime Minister Daniel Günther, companies that “exploit their special market position, especially in times of crisis”, should be held financially responsible, he told the Hamburger Abendblatt “.
“If the state supports companies that are in a difficult situation during the crisis, it is legitimate for companies that have achieved outstanding results from a crisis to also participate,” Günther told the newspaper. However, this requires a “clever set of instruments”. However, the excess profit tax is “too easy” as a solution for him. It is “not just a favorite project of the left, but a topic that I understand,” said Günther.
Federal Finance Minister and FDP leader Christian Lindner has so far rejected an excess profit tax. The scientific service of his ministry urgently warns against this, he said last weekend in the ZDF summer interview. “We would surrender our tax system to arbitrariness.” In the past, Lindner had also warned that an excess profit tax would also damage Germany as a location for innovation.