The Institute's management and team welcome Werner Gatzer as a new FiFo Policy Fellow. The Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bahn AG was responsible for the federal budget as State Secretary for over 18 years until the end of 2023. "There is hardly any other person in Germany who has as much authority and practical experience in budgetary and fiscal policy as Werner Gatzer. We are very grateful to have him among our Fellows," remarks Michael Thöne on this very welcome addition.

As keynote speaker at the Political Ash Wednesday of the Gütersloh district employers, Michael Thöne discusses the growing challenges North Rhine-Westphalian municipal authorities face in the field of investment, climate protection and digitalisation. All of this must be managed with fewer staff. In view of the mounting wave of retirements, it is becoming increasingly important to modernise and focus public tasks: "We don't need a weak government, but a government that does the right thing".

Japan is establishing a modern evaluation system for tax expenditures. Tomohiro Kimura, Deputy Director from the ministry in charge, SOUMU, as well as Otoe Yoda, Arisa Kudo and Toko Kawagoe from Deloitte Tokyo talk to Eva Gerhards and Michael Thöne about two decades of FiFo experience with strengthening subsidy control in Germany and about the institute's trademark evaluation system for tax subsidies.

The FiFo evaluations of numerous German tax expenditures have put agro diesel and the motor vehicle tax exemption in agriculture on the BMF's definitive cut list according to "Wirtschaftswoche". Yet in the hearing of the Finance Committee of the Bundestag, Michael Thöne talks more about the reduction of subsidies in the air transport tax and outlines a competitively fair reduction of the general diesel privilege based on the Belgian model.

Municipal road construction contributions, a Prussian invention dating back to 1893, are extremely unpopular and have been abolished in almost all German Länder for a good five years. Also in North Rhine-Westphalia, they are now to be abolished once and for all. In his expert hearing statement, Michael Thöne outlines the evaluation criteria against which the non-contributory, low-bureaucracy and incentive-based financing of road construction must be measured. In this light, he characterises the mechanism now proposed as a good interim model.

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