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Lawmakers pass fundamental parameters of 2016 state budget

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Prague, Oct 21 (CTK) – The Czech Chamber of Deputies approved the basic parameters of the 2016 state budget in the first reading in spite of the opposition’s disagreement Wednesday.

The right proposed that the draft budget be returned to the government for rewriting with the aim of reducing the projected expenditures as well as the deficit.

The lawmakers can no longer change the fundamental parameters. They can only propose shifts within the budget.

The final vote on the draft state budget will take place in December. By then, committees of the lower house of parliament will discuss individual budget chapters.

The overall expenditures will be 1,251 billion crowns and revenues 1,181 billion crowns next year.

The deficit is to decrease by 30 billion crowns to 70 billion against this year’s, which the government presupposes to be lower than projected, however.

Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) said the deficit stood at 25 billion crowns this morning.

The fundamental parameters of the draft state budget were supported by 95 lawmakers, 65 were against.

“This is a budget the Czech Republic needs,” Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said.

He said the budget will bring the needed stability to the coutnry in the turbulent times and it will boost growth, employment and a good operation of the public services.

“This is a budget that will strengthen the security of citizens and our state,” he said.

Babis said the budget is responsible towards future generations.

The opposition sharply criticised the draft budget.

The conservative TOP 09 unsuccessfully proposed that the draft budget be returned to the government for rewriting and called for the expenditures and deficit to decrease by 20 billion crowns at least.

The rightist Civic Democrats (ODS) called for a cut of 30 billion crowns in the expenditures.

The right said the projected expenditures on investments and on the promotion of science and research are too low.

The leftist opposition Communists (KSCM) said they cannot tolerate the draft budget and that some of the government laws may not generate the expected budgetary effect.

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