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IN SHORT BUSINESS

State budget in good shape

THE DEVELOPMENT of the state budget has pleased observers. For the first three months of 2004, the budget posted a surplus of Sk1.2 billion (€29.7 million) against last year's Sk18 billion (€445.8 million) deficit.

The positive trend was enhanced by VAT collection. Corporate tax collections rose by Sk2.5 billion (€61.9 million) year-on-year, the daily SME wrote.

Revenues grew by Sk20.6 billion (€509.8 million) year-on-year, reaching Sk67 billion (€1.7 billion) in late March, which is 28.9 percent of the full-year target.

Expenditures dropped by Sk1.57 billion (€38.9 million), 21.2 percent of the annual projection.

However, Movement for a Democratic Slovakia MP and former Finance Minister Sergej Kozlík said that it was too early to celebrate the good results.

He still sees budgetary risks and predicts complications in fulfilling the plans.

Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš is optimistic, but he does not think lowering taxes is realistic at this point. Slovakia overhauled its tax system last year, cutting income tax to a flat 19 percent, as opposed to the previous progressive taxation of income.

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