Prime Minister Rutte was clear yesterday: there is plenty of money available to solve the major problems of the Netherlands. That outstretched hand will be happy to accept the parties in the House of Representatives today and tomorrow during the General Political Reflections.
It is seen as the most important debate of the year, the day after Princes Day. However, the outcome is usually fixed: the House supports the Governments Million Note, the budget of the Cabinet. Normally, there is little room for extra plans, especially opposition parties.
Thats different this year. Rutte even invited the MPs to come up with extra plans yesterday and they may cost a bit too. Hundreds of millions certainly. The Rutte VVD is even willing to make available the EUR 1 billion that was actually meant to be a burden relief for business.
According to Rutte, the aim is to plunder the budget, to show that policy is being made during this demissionary period without a view of a new cabinet. “This is really an attempt to show the Netherlands in the broad political center: we can do things with each other.”
And that good collaboration could also lead to a breakthrough in the faltering cabinet formation. Thats not a goal in itself, Rutte stressed yesterday. His outstretched hand is “no trick” to entice parties to cooperate with a possible minority cabinet. But at the same time, he said he expects a breakthrough just this week.
Abolish landlord levy
PvdA and GroenLinks, who are also joining together during the General Contemplations, will today propose to abolish the so-called landlord levy. Thats the tax that housing corporations have been paying since 2013 on the value of their rental homes.
The Treasury brings about 1.8 billion euros each year, but also leads to higher rents according to many parties. By abolishing the levy, the corporations can reduce rent and build more homes, so is the reasoning of party leaders Lilianne Ploumen and Jesse Klaver.
Ploumen and Clover about their plans:
To fund it, they want to increase the profit tax for large companies. They count on broad support, because almost all parties have stated in their election program that they want to get rid of the landlord charge. Clover hopes they stick out their necks. “And thats how to shape the new governance culture.”
Only the VVD will hold on to the levy in the election programme. “But everyone you speak is talking about the lack of affordable homes,” Ploumen says. “The rents go through the roof. The VVD shouldnt want that either.”
Furthermore, the left-wing parties want to improve household purchasing power and invest more in education and the climate.
The SP is presenting a counterbudget today with alternative plans. There is also a substantial discount on the landlord levy. The party also wants the deductible in healthcare to go from 385 to 285 euros and that students be compensated for the damage they suffer from the loan system.
Furthermore, the SP wants to commit itself to higher healthcare salaries. In this, the party joins the Christian Union, who feels free to come up with additional proposals. The coalition no longer exists according to the Christian Union.