From 19 to 26 September 2017, GIZ ran the annual budget management training course for a delegation from the Budgetary Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. This year’s topics were financial relations between the Federation and Länder (individual states), output-based budgeting and property taxation. The course was held in the state of Hesse, Bonn, Hamburg and Berlin. At the Sino-German Center of Finance and Economics (SGC) in Frankfurt, Professor Gisela Färber from the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer gave a presentation on financial relations between the Federation and the Länder. The delegation was then welcomed at Frankfurt City Hall by Mr Uwe Becker, Mayor and City Treasurer, before meeting Mr Hans-Joachim Kühn for a discussion of the role of property tax in the local authority budget of the city of Frankfurt. At the Hessian Ministry of Finance, the delegation looked at output-based budgeting with Dr Gerrit Rüdiger and gained an insight into the Hessian perspective on Federation-Länder financial relations, while their meeting with Mr Peter Mandler focused on current options for property tax reform. Mr Lothar Dingeldein from the Budget Office at Hesse’s State Parliament explained the challenges associated with output-based budgeting from the Parliament’s perspective, and Dr Karsten Nowak from Hesse’s Court of Auditors shared experience gained with output-based budgeting in the context of financial control. The first week of the programme concluded with a meeting with Dr Dirk Schulte from the Bundesrechnungshof (German Federal Court of Auditors) in Bonn and focused on this institution’s role and functions.
In the second week, the delegation met with senior staff from Hamburg’s Finance Ministry (Finanzbehörde). The meeting with Head of Division Mr Lars Kastning centred on the performance budget, while the discussions with Divisional Head Mr Karsten Dames and Head of Section Mr Michael Schreyer addressed the issue of property tax and the taxation of second homes in Hamburg. Members of Parliament Jan Quast (SPD), Philipp Heißner (CDU), Norbert Hackbusch (DIE LINKE), Andrea Oelschläger (AfD) and Farid Müller (GRÜNE) reported on Hamburg Parliament’s experience with the performance budget. The programme ended with a visit to the Federal Chamber of Tax Advisers in Berlin, where Mr Thomas Hund talked about the Chamber’s role and Ms Cornelia Metzing provided background to the debate about property tax reform.