The consolidation package to restore state finances, which the government presented last week, is necessary according to 51 percent of citizens, but two fifths of people do not understand it. In addition, less than three quarters do not expect that the proposed changes in value added tax (VAT) rates will reduce their cost of living in the Czech Republic. It emerged from the findings of the Median agency for Czech Radio, which published it on its website.
At the same time, the majority of citizens think that the proposal for changes comes too late, and according to more than two thirds of citizens, the changes will not even solve the growing debt of the state.
According to the published package, the government wants to save 62.4 billion crowns on expenses next year and to obtain 31.7 billion crowns from new revenues, i.e. to reduce the state budget deficit by 94.1 billion crowns. In the next year, it should be 53.4 billion crowns. In the package, the cabinet expects to cut subsidies, reduce the amount for state operations and salaries.
The tax on companies, on real estate, on gambling, on people with a higher income, and on tobacco and alcohol should increase. Instead of three rates of value added tax, there are to be two. The minimum levies for self-employed persons are to be gradually raised. They should then pay as much as a minimum wage worker. Employees will now pay sickness insurance. The retirement age should be guided by the extension of life. The new pensions are to be lower and the valorization more moderate.
According to Median, among voters of the government coalition, 81 percent of respondents support the mentioned proposals, while among voters of the opposition ANO, 33 percent of people support them. The package also has roughly 70 percent support among students, but the level of support decreases with increasing age. It is the lowest among educated people without a high school diploma and among residents of poorer regions in the northwest of the country, the radio reported.
Only nine percent of respondents think that the government is coming up with an austerity package on time. On the contrary, according to 71 percent, this step is too late, and according to 69 percent, the proposed changes will not solve the state’s indebtedness.
When asked who should participate the most in savings, the highest number of respondents, 44 percent, said the state apparatus and officials. According to 27 percent, all groups should participate equally in this, and according to 12 percent, companies and enterprises should primarily participate in the savings. Fewest people want to let the savings fall on self-employed people and employees.
Madian also sought people’s opinion on the taxation of the sale of still wine, for which the government proposes to leave the tax at zero in the austerity package. Fifty-five percent of respondents disagree with this government decision, 35 percent agree. Conversely, 54 percent of people agree with the proposed zero VAT rate on books and 39 percent do not.
Median conducted a survey between May 12 and 15 among a thousand people.
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