Colorful stairs: Taxpayers’ Association rebukes waste

The “black book” of the Federation of Taxpayers denounces examples of tax waste every year. Among the 100 cases, some are bizarre, others really expensive.

Berlin – A groundbreaking ceremony that has been celebrated twice, Internet for gazebos and expensive staircase art: The taxpayers’ association has denounced the waste of money German authorities with 100 examples.

Federation, states and municipalities across Germany were once again carefree with citizens’ money, said association president Reiner Holznagel on Tuesday in Berlin.

The double groundbreaking ceremony

With the three-lane expansion of federal highway 5 between the Schleswig-Holstein cities of Husum and Tönning, the holiday centers are to be better connected to the motorway. The start of construction work on the 20-kilometer section was celebrated with two groundbreaking ceremonies – each at both ends of the upgraded section.

The State Office for Road Construction and Transport justified the double celebration by saying that reports about the groundbreaking signaled the local residents that construction was starting. Since the locations are at both ends of the upgraded route, “different addressees are addressed and prepared for the start of construction”. According to the taxpayers’ association, the residents addressed were not allowed to take part in the celebrations. Real construction will not start until the summer of 2022.

“Aufrezelte” stairs

In Stuttgart, three stairs were painted for a total of 75,000 euros – including a pretzel and a pop-art-style decoration. The city hopes that the citizens will use the colorful steps more often and thus do something for their health. But according to the taxpayers’ association, there was already a lot going on on the stairs beforehand. Even the city sees it that way. In her answer to the inquiry from the taxpayers’ association, she described two of the stairs as “frequented” and “heavily frequented”.

“We want people to enjoy moving around their city. That’s why we set up two stairs that were more of a shadowy existence, ”said a city spokeswoman. “As a result, they get a completely different level of attention and are advertised as eye-catchers in social networks.” The taxpayers’ association does not object to incentives intended to help the population get more exercise. “In the case of these stairs, which were already well-frequented, it would not have required expensive expenses,” says the “Black Book”.

You should go over two bridges

In Eslohe in the Sauerland region, the Essel river is crossed by a road bridge with a 1.75 meter wide walkway. When people meet, it gets tight – especially if one of them is in a wheelchair. Those responsible took this as an opportunity to also build a two-meter-wide pedestrian bridge. The cost: around 95,000 euros. According to the taxpayers’ association, the municipality pays 38,000 euros of this, the rest comes from the federal government and the state. “A bridge next to a bridge – that is a waste of tax money par excellence!” Criticizes the association. The community initially did not comment on the allegations.

Fast internet for uninhabited gazebos

12,000 households in Brandenburg should get high-speed internet subsidized by the state. However, in the selection of the taxpayers’ association, the authorities went wrong. In Borkheide, some uninhabited gazebos were supplied with fiber optic connections worth around 16,000 euros – but not the local hotel. The taxpayers’ association criticizes the result that a patchwork carpet was created that was built past the actual needs of the citizens. dpa

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