An amendment submitted by an MP of the Hungarian government party Fidesz party would cut practically to zero the appropriations for the operation of the independent Fiscal Council established to assess the government's budget drafts from next year's budget.
The 2011 budget bill has earmarked HUF 835.5 million for the Fiscal Council. The amendment proposed by József Varga would cut the funding of the Fiscal Council to HUF 10 million and would rechannel the HUF 825.5 billion difference to the Public Foundation for Hungarian Gypsies, a foundation he heads. Varga said in the proposal that “it was necessary and timely to rethink the tasks of the Fiscal Council”, on which “almost HUF 1 billion has been spent annually”. Varga noted that neither his party nor its coalition partner, the Christian Democrats (KDNP), voted for the establishment of the Council in 2008 “as it carries out tasks almost similar to the National Bank of Hungary or the Audit Office”. The amendment was submitted on Thursday, less than a week after State Audit Office (ÁSz) head László Domokos questioned the necessity of the Fiscal Council in an interview published in the daily Magyar Nemzet. There are no changes affecting the Fiscal Council on the government's agenda, government spokesperson Anna Nagy told MTI last Friday when asked to clarify on Domokos' remarks.
The Fiscal Council has been critical of the 2011 budget bill, saying that, while the budget deficit target is attainable or even conservative for 2011, the financing of tax reductions from temporary taxes makes fiscal plans unsustainable in the medium term. Fiscal Council head György Kopits also drew attention early last week that a supplement to the budget shows that government plans to prolong the extraordinary banking tax as well as the sector-based “crisis” taxes from the originally announced three years. (MTI-Econews)