PARLIAMENTARY deputies continue their debate over the state budget for 2014, which started on December 5 with speeches from Finance Minister Peter Kažimír and his predecessor Ivan Mikloš from the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ). The opposition deputies criticise the proposal, saying they will not vote for it, but since the ruling Smer party has a clear majority in parliament, it is likely that the budget will pass.

According to Kažimír, the budget will be the basic pillar of consolidation and will improve the effectiveness of tax collection.

“I believe that 2014 will see a turnaround in Slovakia’s economic growth and in the situation on the labour market,” Kažimír said, as quoted by the TASR newswire, on December 5.

Mikloš however said that the budget will not bring consolidation that will lead to sustainable public finances. According to him, the proposal focuses on one-off measures, as reported by the SITA newswire.

Ľuboš Blaha from Smer blamed the centre-right politicians for competing over who will save more, without taking the social aspect of public finances into consideration. He even called Mikloš “a fiscal vulture” who wants to save money at any price, as reported by TASR on December 6.

On the other hand, Richard Sulík, chair of Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), criticised the proposal, saying that if state incomes are €13 billion and expenditures are €15 billion, the state has to save the money, otherwise it will go bankrupt, as reported by TASR.

The government has not started its consolidation properly, and it has already stopped it, commented László Solymos from opposition party Most-Híd. According to him, the budget worsens the long-term sustainability of public finances, TASR wrote.

Parliament’s financial committee updated the government-approved proposal with a number of changes reflecting updated forecasts with respect to tax collection next year. The amended draft envisions the cash deficit to reach €3.284 billion. Revenues should stand at €14.108 billion, while expenditures are projected to reach €17.392 billion. The initial proposal envisaged a slightly higher deficit: at €3.386 billion, TASR wrote.

The largest portion of funding in the 2014 budget is to be allocated to the Transport Ministry (€2.257 billion), followed by the Labour Ministry (€2.211 billion) and the Interior Ministry (€2.018 billion).

Source: TASR, SITA

For more information about this story please see: Draft budget discussed

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.