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May 27, 2011
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The financial situation of Germany’s Länder, or constituent federal states, is often overshadowed by the situation of the Federation and the municipalities. In the course of this year DB Research plans to publish a series of articles on various topics pertaining to the Länder and their finances. This launch study aims to highlight the complex financial relations between the Federation and the Länder as well as the latter’s limited autonomy. The Länder are allowed to make largely autonomous decisions solely in respect of borrowing; capital market financing has gained considerable significance for a number of them. The scope of the financial equalisation system and the judgements handed down by the Federal Constitutional Court ensure the practical anchoring of the solidarity principle, which is tantamount to a joint liability system with a bail-out guarantee. More Länder autonomy – partly by means of a surcharge on income tax – would make sense. The creation of the Stability Council and a debt brake at Länder level has for the first time produced a preventive instrument for timely corrective action in the event of budget imbalances. [more]
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