The trio of former finance ministers think that the approved deficit of this year’s state budget of 295 billion crowns does not correspond to reality and will be significantly higher. According to them, for example, revenues will be less by tens of billions of crowns. Miroslav Kalousek, Jiří Rusnok and Alena Schillerová claim that significant savings will be necessary.
Each of the three former ministers is associated with a different party, but they all agree on how little and poorly the current government of Petr Fiala from the ODS solves the ever-increasing state budget deficit. Miroslav Kalousek co-founded and led TOP 09, Jiří Rusnok was a member of the ČSSD, and Alena Schillerová is the only one of them who is still active in politics today as the head of the parliamentary club of the ANO movement.
“It is a fictitious budget that does not correspond to reality,” declared ex-minister Alena Schillerová, according to which it is clear that the budget will lack revenues from the tax on unexpected profits in the amount of about 60 billion crowns or from the sale of emission allowances for 50 billion crowns. According to Schillerová, there is not even money in the budget for expenses for tens of billions of crowns for further valorization of pensions or for the State Transport Infrastructure Fund, she calculated on the broadcast of Otázek Václav Moravec.
Kalousek and Rusnok, who was the governor of the Czech National Bank until last year, estimated the budget deficit to be at least 300 billion crowns. According to Kalouska, it is certain that revenues will not be as high as the government assumed. They urge her to urgently seek savings in spending, otherwise, according to Kalouska, the Czech Republic is at risk of state bankruptcy. However, Kalousek pointed out that expenses had already increased significantly under the previous government of Prime Minister and ANO head Andrej Babiš, when Schiller was the minister. Rusnok also called on the government to be significantly more active, according to which Fiala and other members of the cabinet must take a number of steps to keep the increase in the deficit as low as possible.
That it is necessary to save a lot was also admitted on Sunday by the Minister of Transport for the ODS, Martin Kupka, who spoke on CNN Prima. According to Kupka, the government will fulfill the previously announced promise to reduce the budget deficit by at least 70 billion crowns. “The coalition’s agreement on the reduction must be on the table in May. The proposal must include savings and tax changes,” Kupka said.
Let’s wait for the evaluation until the middle of the year, urges the Minister of Finance
Negotiations have been ongoing in the government coalition for several months, but an agreement is not yet in sight. Each side has different ideas about the level of savings, as well as where to start saving and where, on the contrary, to increase income. For example, STAN originally talked about savings of 150 billion and Piráti about 140 billion crowns. At the same time, the state budget ended in a deficit of 166.2 billion crowns in March, which is the worst result for the first quarter since the creation of the Czech Republic. The government is also doing poorly in the eyes of the public, a survey by the Center for Public Opinion Research of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (CVVM) last week found that the current government has the worst rating since the cabinet of Petr Nečas (ODS) in 2013.
The Minister of Finance and Deputy Chairman of the ODS Zbyněk Stanjura is probably under the greatest pressure, who has to face criticism from the opposition and a number of experts. So far, the last time he engaged in a debate with the opposition was last Thursday during parliamentary interpellations. On them, the opposition member urged them not to make any conclusions about the budget yet, according to him, it is necessary to wait at least until the middle of the year, when the first serious conclusions can be made.
“I said this in the opposition, when the newspapers often asked what we say in February, March and April, so I said yes, but they are preliminary figures, there is no point in making any stronger conclusions. In particular, the corporate income tax is mainly paid in June, so it changes then. But if you want it sooner, it will be sooner. I would consider the debate to be rational after the evaluation of the first six months,” he told ex-minister Alena Schillerová during an interview.
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