Why do we expect deficits in the municipal budget in the nearby future?
A deficit of almost EUR 30 million is expected within the next years. In 2019, tax revenues (affecting trade tax, income tax and sales tax) were lower than initally expected. Regardless this fact, the city council‘s majority has assumed a strong economic growth for the double budget year 2019/20 which meant taking high financial risks. Additional costs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic caused further unease and subsequently, the situation became particularly acute.
What are the consequences?
The city of Jena has publicly declared being in a state of a so called budgetary emergency (Haushaltsnotstand). Under the administrative law of the state of Thuringia, this declaration imposes presenting a so-called budget stabilization concept (Haushaltssicherungskonzept, HSK) – a five-year plan helping to minimize expenditures and generate additional revenues. This plan was drafted by the city of Jena in November 2020, even though it is still not yet certain whether the HSK will actually be required: Due to the current pandemic situation, there are going to be further subsidies from both the provincial and federal government and administrative requirements have been loosened, too. Nevertheless, many of the cuts could still be implemented.
Which are the measures planned by the city?
The HSK draft proposes the following measures, amongst others:
- Cutting back funding for all kinds of associations with focus on social work, sports, healthcare, immigration, women, culture, and youth work
- Increasing fees for day-care and after-school care, long-term closure of day-care centers
- Lowering standards for addiction and psychosocial counseling
- Reducing the number of neighborhoods and municipal committees
- Selling land owned by the city to the highest bidders instead of sustainable and controlled urban development (omission of allocation based on the quality of the submitted concepts)
- Increasing dog taxes, entertainment taxes and parking taxes
- Cutting back the citizens‘ budget by 75%
- Canceling special exhibitions in the municipal museums (Museum of the City of Jena, Art Collection of Jena, literary museum “Romantikerhaus“)
- Increasing rent as well as prices for electricity and public transport (possible)
What does all of this mean for the city we live in?
Which implications would the HSK‘s implementation have for all of us, the people living in the city of Jena? This becomes clear when we ask ourselves: What do we demand from living in an urban environment that we would consider worthwhile living? And how can it be achieved?
Despite the many individual answers to this question, it becomes clear that the answer lies beyond economic growth and statistics. A city is shaped by its institutions and people making it a good place. For everyone. In a sports club, people are given a space to meet up and have fun, exchange ideas, and do something for their well-being and health. Offers such as JenaBonus and low-cost local transport make mobility in the city accessible for everyone.
This way, we make our city a more human, sustainable and fairer place.
Common good instead of growth at all costs
We ask the city to focus on the idea of common good instead of growth at all costs. This means a better and more sustainable city for all.
Common good requires democratic participation. The appropriateness of measures for budget stabilization must be decided in a democratic and transparent way.
Common good requires social justice. No cuts in social, education and healthcare services. The costs of the crisis must not be passed on to those who already living on the edge.
Common good requires climate justice. No cuts in climate protection measures and no investments putting climate protection at risk.
Common good requires cultural diversity and participation. Cultural institutions and
projects must be preserved.
Common good requires self-determination. The municipality must lobby at a higher political level for more financial leeway and review the necessity of the HSK.
What can you do?
- Help us to reach as many citizens as possible. Talk to your family, friends and colleagues about the city’s plans and our protest against it.
- Take part in our postcard campaign: Fill out a postcard to be sent to the city’s officials and let them know why you are against the cuts.
- Take the protest to the streets with us:
Protest (in line with the current coronavirus regulations)
27 January 2021 at 4 p.m. local time
in front of “Volkshaus Jena“,
What is it all about? – short and sweet
- Severe cuts planned in the cultural and social sector (e.g. clubs, day-care centers, cultural institutions, public transport)
- Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the city council‘s high-risk budgetary planning, the city of Jena faces a major financial deficit in the years to come.
- In order to balance the budget, the city council has proposed a large number of possible cuts in different areas to be borne by the city‘s population.
- We – a broad coalition of affected initiatives, institutions, labor unions and citizens of Jena – will not acept this decision made without our participation!
- Thus we demand: Stop the cuts!