Final Word from Wednesday, September 8, 2004





The coalition partners are haggling over an Kč 8bn increase in police salaries for next year. KDU-ČSL and US-DEU want the salary hike to be delayed, so that the 2005 budget deficit won't be quite as big as the Kč 94bn proposed by ČSSD. Such minor disputes are obscuring the scary truth about government spending. It's rising at an incredible rate. The proposed spending figure for next year of Kč 917.6bn would mean an increase in expenditures of 24.6% since 2002. Revenue isn't rising quite as fast, but next year's proposed figure of Kč 823.6bn is still 19.3% higher than the approved revenue figure for 2002. ČSSD and its partners have masked this huge growth in the size of the government by concentrating their squabbles on the deficit. It's being kept relatively stable, but the cabinet's tax-borrow-and-spend policies have nevertheless caused it to double since 2002.

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