During a meeting on Wednesday, the municipal assembly of Budapest adopted a so-called ‘survival programme’, a package of measures designed to reign in the capital’s finances.
The package includes the stabilisation of the city’s budget while maintaining the quality of the city cervices and guaranteeing the wages of people employed by institutions operated by the municipality.
The ‘survival programme’ was approved with 18 votes in favour and 12 abstentions, the latter by the Fidesz representatives. As a result,
the city will take out a 16.6 billion forint loan for project development in 2023.
The loan is going to match the support provided in EU funding, central budget allocations and loans granted by the European Investment Bank.
Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony will turn to the central government to demand the payment of the pledged compensation for increased utility costs. Budapest is the only city that ‘has been left out of the first round of state subsidies allocated as compensation of the increase in energy prices to the local governments of cities with more than 10,000 residents’, the draft stated. Karácsony will submit a proposal for Budapest to receive one-third of the costs of operating the city’s public transport services from the 2024 central budget. The Mayor will also ask for the reduction of the amount payable to the central government in solidarity tax to a minimum amount of 5 billion forints, as well as the rescheduling of the payment of taxes. The demands also include the government paying the 6 billion forints subsidy promised for the renovation of the Chain Bridge.
The Budapest Mayor’s Office announced last week that it has prepared a ‘survival programme’ because, according to Gergely Karácsony,
without it Budapest would not be able to make it through this year.
One of the elements of the package is that they are taking the Ministry of Finance to the administrative court over the solidarity contribution because, according to their position, the amount is 25 billion forints more than what the law allows. Karácsony said the city will pay the legal part of the contribution, but it cannot and will not pay the disputed 25 billion.
The Fidesz municipal faction commented in response that Karácsony and his team have managed the city irresponsibly and squandered the 214 billion forint reserve left by István Tarlós, the former,. Fidesz-backed mayor of Budapest. One Fidesz municipal councillor dismissed the proposed financial package document as a ‘political pamphlet.’