Deputies will decide on the Castle and Parliament budgets only in June

Deputies will decide on the Castle and Parliament budgets only in June

Deputies will decide on the Castle and Parliament budgets only in June

New inauguration of President-elect Petr Pavel, March 9, 2023, Pažský hrad. Prague Castle at the moment of inauguration.

Prague – About how much money the House of Representatives, the Senate or, for example, the president's office should have in the budget for next year, will probably not be clear until June. Today, the House Budget Committee suspended the discussion of drafts of the basic parameters of these budgets until June 7. According to the chairman of the committee, Josef Bernard (STAN), the committee management agreed on this procedure. He justified this by the fact that the deputies did not receive the documents until Tuesday. In addition, there are disputes between representatives of both parliamentary chambers and the Ministry of Finance over the required savings. The Ministry wants the basis for the calculation of salary savings to include the compensation of legislators, and the cuts would therefore be higher. According to Bernard, this will also be discussed now.

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The MF's requirements for savings are based on the intentions of the prepared government consolidation package. The ministry demands, among other things, to reduce the amount of money for salaries by two percent. “The contradiction is clear: they play the role of a substitute,” stated Bernard. “In our opinion, the Ministry of Finance's calculation is wrong,” Petr Kymlička, head of the parliamentary legislation, said in the committee. “We cannot reduce the calculation base,” responded the representative of the Ministry of Finance. When asked by ČTK, Bernard later specified that he was leaning towards the House and the Senate. When asked by journalists, he also stated that the demand for a two percent decrease in the amount of money for salaries applies to all chapters, not just the Parliament.

The parliamentary budget committee is discussing the proposals of seven so-called parliamentary chapters. These are the Office of the President of the Republic, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Supreme Audit Office, the Constitutional Court, the Ombudsman and the Office of the National Budget Council. For these authorities, the budget committee approves the basic parameters of their budgets for the following year. The government will then incorporate them into the draft of the overall state budget, which will be submitted to the deputies for approval at the end of September.

In the case of the Chamber of Deputies, her office proposed expenditures of 1,512 million crowns, which is a decrease of about 40 million crowns compared to this year. However, the Ministry of Finance does not agree with this. The Chamber reduced its narrower operating expenses by about 11 million crowns, but the ministry wants additional savings of 11 million crowns as well. Among other things, Kymlička reminded that the House of Representatives has reduced operating expenses by 54 million crowns over the past two years and since last March has housed refugees from the war in Ukraine and spent over 13 million crowns from its budget.

The Senate presented its budget proposal in two variants. In one of them, he expects to match the salaries of Senate office employees to the level of employees of the House of Representatives. It refers to the fact that, according to the analysis, the average actually paid salary of an employee of the parliamentary office in 2022 was 5,919 kroner a month higher than the same salary in the Senate. The Ministry of Finance disagrees and considers the argument about average salaries irrelevant. The Senate office, as well as the House office, does not agree with the use of legislators' compensation when cutting salaries.

The committee also interrupted the discussion of the budget of the Office of the President of the Republic. The draft budget of the Castle envisages expenses of 421.7 million crowns, which is about ten million crowns less than this year. As part of the reorganization, the castle wants to transfer 43 jobs from the Prague Castle Administration directly to the Office of the President of the Republic. The office itself also wants to create nine new jobs. The Ministry of Finance does not like that the presidential office would like to take part of the money from the operating subsidy to the Administration of Prague Castle.

Today, the committee approved the basic parameters of the budget of the National Budget Council. It should have 25.7 million crowns in the budget for next year.

Expenditure of the budgets of three constitutional institutions in the years 2021 to 2024, data in millions of CZK:

< td>Senate of Parliament
institution reality 2021 approved budget 2022 actual 2022 passed budget 2023 proposed 2024
Office of the President of the Republic 620.1 368.4 million CZK 397.6 431.5 421.7
House of Representatives 1460.4 1462.8 1509.2 1552.7 1512.6 *)
662.8 636.2 678.7 661.4 651.9/668.0**)

*) the Ministry of Finance does not agree with this amount

< p>*)) proposal submitted in two variants,

source: state final accounts and draft budgets of the mentioned chapters.