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Parliament easily approves 2006 state budget

ALTHOUGH the Slovak cabinet does not have a majority in parliament, lawmakers easily approved the draft state budget for the next year on December 13, both the SITA and TASR news agencies reported.

State budget revenues are projected at Sk272.717 billion (€7 billion) for 2006 and expenditures at Sk330.185 billion (€8.5 billion). Thus the deficit should be Sk57.468 billion (€1.5 billion).

Next year's general government deficit calculated according to ESA 95 methodology should reach 2.9 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), without including pension reform costs. The budget envisages that the benchmark public finance deficit for next year will fall by 0.5 percent.

The state budget, which required a simple majority of 76 votes in Parliament, was supported by all 68 governing-coalition MPs. In addition, opposition Smer MP Bohumil Hanzel and ten Independent MPs - Miroslav Ábelovský, Ladislav Polka, Gustav Krajči, Karol Džupa, Eduard Kolesár, Ján Gabriel, Robert Nemcsics, Alexej Ivanko, Iveta Henzélyová and Beata Brestenská - all voted for the budget.

MPs also voted for the 2006-08 public-administration budget proposal, which was passed by 80 out of the 142 MPs present. Meanwhile, 59 MPs voted against the proposal, two abstained and one MP didn't vote.

Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš thanked MPs for their support, expressing his appreciation for the attitude of all MPs when submitting amendment proposals.

Compiled by Marta Ďurianová from press reports
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