With limited resources to spend, the municipalities in North Rhine-Westphalia are facing enormous challenges for the future. The investive transformation of NRW's municipalities is the focus of the annual survey, conducted by FiFo Köln with the support of NRW.BANK. Following the presentation of the project at the 17th Finanzmarktforum 2023, the six-week field phase survey of the cities, towns and districts in North Rhine-Westphalia is starting now. The main topics will be investment plans and investment backlogs as well as the challenges posed by climate change and digitalization.

The vehicle tax and the privileged income tax treatment of company cars are central obstacles on the way to fairer and more climate-friendly mobility. A new study by FiFo Cologne and RWI Essen shows the decisive role of the purchase decision for the structure of the passenger car fleet. Based, among other things, on household surveys conducted by RWI, FiFo drafts reform models for both of the central levies that still stand in the way of the transformation today. Now the full version of the study financed by Agora Verkehrswende has been released. 

In addition to the urgent acute crises, Germany is facing five major chronic crises that require transformations. Climate crisis, demographic change, digital transformation, national security and the large backlog of investment gaps - five tasks for the future where a lot of money needs to be spent. Michael Thöne calculates the total volume of all necessary transformations at a conservative 300 billion euros a year. To finance all this, more taxes, more debt or intensive spending cuts are not the cure. The five great transformations call for the sixth transformation, the comprehensive modernisation of the German public sector. The long version of his essay is published in the latest Loccumer Protokoll and as FiFo DP 22-04. The ifo Schnelldienst 09/2022 offers a condensed version.

The FiFo director has already been honoured with the Ruhr Prize for Art and Science of the City of Mülheim an der Ruhr in 2021. Due to the pandemic, the festive award ceremony could only take place now. Following Michael Thöne's laudation in which he praised Klaus Mackscheidt as a scientist and a true Renaissance man, Lord Mayor Marc Buchholz presented him with the Ruhr Prize, the highest honour that Mülheim bestows. Klaus Mackscheidt also signed the Golden Book of his native city.

What experience does Germany have with financing municipalities sustainably? How can an effective system of intergovernmental transfers be established? Organised by GIZ together with Jens Bullerjahn and Michael Thöne, a Mozambican delegation with high-ranking representatives from the Ministries of Finance, Economics and Home Affairs as well as from the municipal authorities travelled for a week through Saxony-Anhalt and the political Berlin. At the Federal Ministry of Finance, the delegation discusses with State Secretary Werner Gatzer (in photo with Onofre Muianga and Michael Thöne). The German Embassy reports on Facebook.

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