Cabinet surveying opposition for demands in return for budget support
This week, the Cabinet is restarting discussions about the Spring Memorandum, which contains adjustments to the annual budget. Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag will start talking to opposition parties to gauge their demands in exchange for support on the budget in the Senate, where the coalition does not have a majority.
The Cabinet is looking for ways to fill a billion-euro hole in the budget caused by compensation for the savings tax, additional investments in Defense, and measures to protect purchasing power against inflation.
It looks like the coalition intends to tax companies and wealthy people more heavily, with increases on the transfer tax on a second home and for major shareholders in "Box 2" of the tax bracket, according to NOS. The Cabinet may also scrap a tax break for expats.
Rutte and Kaag invited the party leaders of all opposition parties in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, for an individual discussion about their wishes, NOS reports. According to Rutte, the Cabinet is working with the opposition because it considers broad support essential and because the Rutte IV coalition agreed to seek connection with the other parties. "But quite frankly, we are, of course, simply short on seats in the Senate," he said last month.
The coalition has 32 seats in the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate, six short of a majority. The Cabinet is open to consultation with all parties but, in numbers, is likely most interested in GroenLinks and the PvdA with their joint 14 Senate seats and JA 21, which is not formally in the Senate but in practice through the Nanninga faction with its seven seats.
PvdA leader Attje Kuiken and GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver will meet with Kaag and Rutte together. Kuiken told WNL on Sunday that her party wants to fight inequality, specifically by increasing the minimum hourly wage to 14 euros and tackling constructions that prevent more people from getting a permanent contract. The left-wing parties are also very much in favor of taxing the wealthy more.
JA21 wants the state pension to again be fully linked to the minimum wage and for plans for a nitrogen fund to be scrapped.