Final Word from Tuesday, September 10, 2002





The cabinet has been repeatedly criticized for taking advantage of the floods to push through legislative changes that have little or nothing to do with flood recovery. The "millionaire's" tax is most often cited as an example. The cabinet also wants to use the floods to do some good things, such as reducing the red tape for rebuilding construction permits after the flood, but here it's not going very far. Analyst Pavel Kohout of PPF said in MF Dnes that the cabinet should also eliminate property tax and property-transfer tax to show it's serious about solving the housing problem. It could also take a look at building-preservation rules, zoning restrictions and the difficulty of converting farmland to residential use. Many Czechs lost their homes in the floods, but many more have been prevented for years from finding adequate housing because of unfriendly laws.

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