Media commentators critical of minister’s propsal for rail tax cut
Rheinische Post / Saarbrücker Zeitung / Wirtschaftswoche
German media commentators are sceptical of transport minister Andreas Scheuer’s proposal to encourage rail travel by cutting the value added tax on long-distance train tickets. In Wirtschaftswoche Online, Christian Schlesiger says the proposal neglects other comparatively clean forms of mobility, such as busses. “Protecting the environment does not mean giving one particular mode of transport advantages or disadvantages,” he writes, arguing that a CO2 tax would be much simpler and more effective.
In the Saarbrücker Zeitung, Hagen Strauss says cutting taxes on rail travel is an old idea that could have been implemented long ago, but Scheuer doesn’t say how he would finance his proposal. “It is particularly problematic that [Deutsche] Bahn would probably struggle even more than it does today with more customers,” Strauss says. “The Bahn is already running at full capacity.” In a commentary for Tagesspiegel, Georg Ismar calls the proposal a “sham” motivated by power politics, arguing that Scheuer is simply passing the buck to the finance minister.
Sill, in an opinion piece in Rheinische Post, Birgit Maschall says the tax cut should be implemented quickly. “In order for the measure to take effect, Scheuer should oblige the [Deutsche] Bahn to pass on the tax rebate in full to its customers,” Marschall writes. She add that it would make far more sense to push for a carbon tax on kerosene in European air traffic, and abolish the diesel tax privilege for cars and trucks, but admits these steps are unlikely to be taken any time soon.