Czech lawmakers pass 2014 state budget with 112 billion crown gap

Zleva premiér v demisi Jiří Rusnok, ministr obrany Vlastimil Picek, ministr vnitra Martin Pecina a ministr financí Jan Fischer 19. prosince v Praze na jednání Sněmovny. Poslanci schválili v závěrečném čtení státní rozpočet na příští rok.

published: 19.12.2013, 14:16 | updated: 19.12.2013 14:17:23

Prague - The Czech Chamber of Deputies today passed the 2014 state budget projecting a deficit of 112 billion crowns, an increase compared with this year´s planned gap of 100 billion.

The budget bill will be submitted to President Milos Zeman for signing.

The Senate, the upper house parliament, does not vote on state budget bills.

In the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies, the budget bill was supported by 109 deputies from the nascent government coalition, i.e. the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL).

Thirty-nine deputies from the right-wing opposition Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and TOP 09 voted against, while the Communist Party (KSCM) and the Dawn of Direct Democracy movement abstained from the vote.

The projected revenues will rise next year by 18.5 billion to 1,099.3 billion crowns compared with this year.

Expenditures will go up by 30.5 billion crowns to 1,211.3 billion crowns.

The government wants to issue bonds for almost 114 billion crowns in connection with the projected deficit.

In the final vote today, the lawmakers approved the transfer of about five billion crowns to the government´s budget reserve.

On the proposal of the Chamber´s budget committee, they added 1.27 billion crowns to the social services, 300 million to the building of schools near big urban agglomerations and 50 million to the pay of regional school staff.

Six million crowns were given to the Culture Ministry to buy the native house of Jan Palach and to turn it into a museum commemorating the late student who is a symbol of Czech resistance to totalitarianism in the late 1960s.

Other proposals for transfers of sums between the budget chapters were turned down.

By the vote today, the lawmakers also changed the budget for 2013 by lowering the projected revenues and expenditures by 4.4 billion crowns each.

This is linked to this year´s auction of frequencies, put up by the Czech Telecommunication Office. It was originally to obtain the proceeds from the auction in 2013 but will receive them only next year, which is why this year´s budget had to be adjusted accordingly.

This year the Chamber of Deputies had a record short time to pass the government´s draft budget for 2014. It approved its basic parameters in first reading on December 6 and passed it definitively today, after a mere 13 days, compared with about 2.5 months which has been usual so far.

Today´s final reading, too, was much shorter than usual, taking 1.5 hours.

($1=20.161 crowns)


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