#105: Energy allowance, TIER, Haus der Statistik
1 more day on your €9 tix
Hey there, 20 Percent!
Wednesday is the last day of the €9 ticket (and the Tankrabatt, a temporary petrol tax cut) — so if you don’t have to work, maybe undertake that day trip to charming Quedlinburg or the Baltic or Leipzig you’ve been postponing forever.
On Monday, hundreds of protesters including one wearing a giant papier-mâché head resembling our austerity-preaching finance minister Christian Lindner (FDP) delivered 450,000 signatures demanding a continuation of the €9 ticket to the finance ministry. Lindner, as we’ve reported, has railed against prolonging the ticket (which was purchased 50 million times), warning of a “freebie mentality”.
The €9 ticket was one of the few innovations to come out of the “traffic-light” government. It was a relief valve to take the edge off energy price rises and inflation during the summer. But as household finances are stretched, as the government’s new gas levy rears its ugly head in October and as electricity prices go through the roof — wreaking havoc on the German economy — expect discontent to spill onto the streets with a fervour not seen in decades.
The government knows this of course, so taxpayers will be thrown a carrot of a different flavour in September: the one-time Energiepauschale (energy allowance) of €300. Salaried workers will receive it with their wages; self-employed people will experience it through a reduction of their income tax pre-payments. Fun fact: the Energiepauschale itself will be taxed!
Meanwhile, the Berlin Senat seems to intuit the role the €9 ticket can play in preventing the pressure cooker from overboiling — and is promising a local version of it from October, with the details yet unclear. Too bad they couldn’t get their act together for September.
More news below.
P.S. Please visit our sponsor (more info below) Pretty Deadly Self Defense and Iceland’s Hugleikur Dagsson is headlining Dark Mode comedy Saturday, our readers get 20 percent off (more info also below)!
The Berlin corona stats for Tuesday, August 30
New cases in one day: 1,555 (2,070 Friday)
Total deaths: 4,756 (+3 over Friday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 283.3 (251.6 Friday)
🔴7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 11.4 (14.4 Friday)
🟢 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 3.9% (3.3% Friday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
Last Generation in court
A 20-year-old man who was fined €450 for taking part in an autobahn blockade by climate protesters on June 29 is appealing the penalty in a Tiergarten court today, reports RBB. He is the first of 24 activists appealing their fines. Sixty-six people belonging to the Last Generation climate movement have been ordered to pay fines by the Tiergarten court this summer for blocking traffic, which often resulted in angry drivers removing demonstrators from roadways by themselves. Independently from the court (I didn’t realise this was a thing) the Berlin police charged 340 people involved in the protests €241 for removal from the tarmac, to which activists in many cases had superglued themselves.
Haus der Statistik work begins
Rennovation work is finally beginning on the Haus der Statisik, that spectral behemouth on Alexanderplatz that has stood mostly empty since 2008. The complex will house government offices and 320 affordable apartments. About 20% of the floorspace or 15,000m² will be used for artistic, cultural and social projects and will be managed by Genossenschaft Zusammenkunft Berlin (ZKB), the non-profit which originally proposed the mixed use project amidst protests against the closure of the city’s affordable studio spaces. The Haus der Statitisk was completed in 1970 and housed workers responsible for crunching East Germany’s economic data.
Births and deaths overwelm bureaucrats
Getting a birth or death certificate takes weeks or months in Berlin. In response to an enquiry by local FDP politician Maren Jasper-Winter, 1,228 birth certificates are stuck in the clogged conduits of Berlin’s bureaucracy. Relatives are waiting for death certificates in 709 cases. A birth certificate, i.e. proof that your baby exists, is essential in Germany for rudimentary things like health insurance coverage. Jasper-Winter commented: “Berlin has to invest in its administration, including equipment and personnel so that the dust can be removed from the offices and the fax machines finally give way to digitalisation.”
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Berlin’s “micromobility giant” TIER is laying off 180 people (16% of its staff). CEO Lawrence Leuschner says the company wants to focus on profitability. So you flooded our streets with these absurd vehicles and weren’t even making money? The layoffs obviously suck for those affected, but personally I’m hoping this is peak e-scooter.
In August 1922, the value of the German mark went into free fall, leading to the unprecedented hyperinflation that was branded into the country’s collective memory. On August 1, 1922 the US dollar got you 643 marks. By early September, a dollar cost 1,400 marks. The exchange rate plummeted to 7,400 marks per dollar by December.
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